Our History

Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church celebrated its 135th anniversary in 2013.  Back in the 1870's, a group of Swedish immigrants had come to the United States and had initially come to Paxton and were part of a Lutheran congregation.  They eventually split from that congregation and started their own church in 1878.  Within a couple of decades, there were some 500 people (adults and children) that were part of the congregation, according to church history documents.
In 1921, the building located on the corner of Union and Orleans streets (including the main sanctuary) was built and paid for within a few years.  In the late 1950's, a Christian Education wing was constructed and financed.  In the sanctuary is an Ascension painting that adorns the front and is more than 100 years old.  In the fellowship hall is a painting of Jesus that famous painter Warner Sallman sold to the church for $50.  A teen in the church had died in an accident and his friends pitched in with money for the noted artwork, with Pastor Gordon Nelson helping make the connection with the artist.
There have been 29 pastors that have led this congregation, according to church records. The longest-tenured (9 years, 3 months) was Gust Nelson, who left the church to start the Princeton Children's Home, a highly-successful orphanage sponsored primarily by the Central Conference. Another pastor, Elmer Fondell, became a missionary in the denomination. Harry Swanson later was a superintendent in what is now known as the Great Lakes Conference. James Hawkinson eventually served the denomination at its Chicago headquarters in what is now called the Department of Communications - he was editor of the Covenant's magazine, "The Covenant Companion," for nearly three decades. 
In recent decades, the ministry of food has been a helpful way for our congregation to raise funds and serve the community. A Lucia Fest ran for nearly 20 years each December. A Memorial Day BBQ has been going for more than three decades, serving up to 600 meals with half of the proceeds going to local missions. In 2009, Rick and Mike Nelson were catalysts for starting "Rock 'N Roll Church," which used rock music, skits, videos, and a short message to spread the gospel in a Sunday night setting. This fall will mark the 10th such service. We have taken two mission trips in the past 5 years: one to Covenant Mountain Mission Bible Camp in Virginia in 2010 and one to Harrisburg, IL to repair a house damaged by a tornado in 2012. And, as usually occurs as a church interacts with culture, there are creative ways to reach folks who aren't normally in church. A Kids Club Wednesday night program for children, an annual softball tournament, a Church in the Park each summer, and other occasional outings give us a chance to care for others and have fun while we're doing it. 

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday for Sunday School at 9:30am and as we gather to worship together a 10:45am.