Our History

Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church will be celebrating its 145th anniversary in 2023. 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 congrega-tion, 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 27 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 was held for more than three decades, serving up to 600 meals with half of the proceeds going to local missions. For the last several years we have provided a Christmas Day dinner for those in the community that may be unable to get out or have no family nearby. We have also provided funeral luncheons in our Fellowship Hall for families during their time of loss.
We have taken two mission trips: 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. From 2009 to 2014 we held a series of ten "Rock 'N Roll Church" events which used rock music, skits, videos, and a short message to spread the gospel in a Sunday night setting. In the fall of 2018, our church began a video ministry by recording and posting our services online. In December of 2018 we had services available via Facebook live and Youtube. In February 2019 we launched our own app and were broadcasting our own channel on Roku and Amazon Firestick platforms by June 2020. 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.
Over the past several years we have run a successful Vacation Bible School over the summer that has reached many kids and families both inside and outside our congregation. We’ve also participated in other ministries such as Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, and the PBL Backpack Program- programs which provide for those who are less fortunate.

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.