Gazette Article by: Dee Nahigian
Appeared in the Gazette: Winter 1999
The next millennium should see a phased building program at Winnetka Presbyterian Church. Less than 50 years old, the church at the corner of Willow and Hibbard Roads will begin groundbreaking next summer. Plans for the first phase include a Christian Life Center, covered entryway, youth center, new narthex and additional educational/meeting rooms.
Although Winnetka Presbyterian is one of Winnetka’s newer churches, only a few of the families who founded the church in the mid-1950s still reside in the village. The first full-time pastor, Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, now serves as Chaplain to the United States Senate.
Currently under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Martha Page Greene, Winnetka Presbyterian has experienced steady growth in membership and programs since Greene’s arrival as pastor in 1995. A new organ has been installed, and youth and young peoples’ programs have grown dramatically. In 1999 alone the active high school group skied Colorado, rock climbed in Wisconsin and helped build a Presbyterian orphanage south of Tijuana, Mexico. Another welcome development for the church is the arrival of the Reverend John Gilbert who accepted a call to become full-time associate pastor in October.
Greene is the first woman to be called as senior pastor in the history of the Presbytery of Chicago. Coming from western Michigan where she had served several churches, she combines personal warmth with stimulating biblical preaching, involving herself in every phase of the local church activities.
“A building program was the last thing I wanted when I came here,” says Greene, “but over the past four years it became increasingly obvious that the Strategic Mission and Ministry Plan approved by our Session faced severe constraints in the physical facilities we have to implement the Plan and serve people.”
In April, the church hired The Mekus Studios, a Chicago architect and design firm, to develop a Master Plan. Mekus interviewed leaders, staff and members regarding their hopes and dreams for Winnetka Presbyterian, ultimately arriving at the Master Plan from a combination of the best of the developed ideas.
Currently completing the capital fund campaign, “A Time to Build Up,” Winnetka Presbyterian plans a phased building. Major sanctuary renovations, all part of the Master Plan, are expected to be deferred to a later date. “The response to the capital campaign is nothing short of fantastic,” says Greene. “It appears we will exceed our very aggressive goal and build all of phase one as scheduled.”
“ ‘A Time to Build Up’ is not about bricks and mortar,” states Jack Chapin, who, along with Dee Nahigian, is directing the capital fund campaign. “It is all about people. It is about equipping the people of God to serve here on the North Shore, or wherever our mission and ministry might take us.”
In order to implement the Strategic Mission and Ministry Plan, the church will begin the next millennium with expanded programs and additional facilities to be started next summer. “It is a very exciting time in our church history,” says Greene. “The energy and response from members and friends is unequaled in my 20 years of ministry.”