Frequently Asked Questions about St. Luke
Not sure what to expect? We realize that visiting a new church can be a little intimidating, so here are answers to some common questions.
Our mission is to be an inclusive family of God in the midst of a world in need. We strive to provide love and acceptance, forgiveness and empowerment. As we worship together, we challenge each other to work and to live in the spirit of Christ in our community and in the world.
For the glory of God, we worship joyfully, nurture all and encourage in mission by reaching out to the community and the world. We encourage spiritual growth by involving the entire church family in education, fellowship and lay leadership to help fulfill the needs of the congregation and beyond.
We welcome all people without regard for their age, race, gender or status. We welcome spiritual seekers as well as veteran church goers.
VISITING ST. LUKE
What time are the services?
We worship at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Our Sunday School program runs concurrently with worship. Children sit with their families in the sanctuary for the first 10 minutes of worship, and leave as a group after the children’s sermon portion of the service concludes. Teachers guide the children to their classrooms.
What happens during a worship service at St. Luke? What kind of services do you have?
Our services last between an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, during which time we worship with prayer, songs, responsive readings, offering, and some announcements. Before the pastor delivers the message, children are given the opportunity to attend Sunday School, which ends at the same time as the worship service.
Do I have to be a member to attend?
Absolutely not! Everyone is welcome to attend. Our church is an open church. We consider diversity to be God's gift and blessing. We welcome spiritual seekers as well as veteran church goers. At St. Luke, you will find a lot of children, families of all kinds, individuals of all ages and backgrounds, worship that is informal and celebrative, and a shared common life in Christ.
How big is the church?
St. Luke is home to a diverse, friendly and caring congregation of 222 members. We have been part of the Downers Grove community since 1962 and belong to a group of 10,000 churches known as the Presbyterian Church USA, a denomination with a membership of more than 2.3 million.
Do you have childcare?
We provide quality childcare in our nursery for infants and toddlers during the worship service.
Where are you located?
We are located at 3910 Highland Avenue in Downers Grove. We are just south of Good Samaritan Hospital. Enter off 41 Street and then turn left onto the “old” Highland Avenue. St. Luke is on your left at the end of the street.
Where do I park?
There is parking in front of the church, along the street on Highland Avenue and across the street at Highland Elementary School.
What is the music like?
Our music is a mix of traditional and contemporary. On any given Sunday, you may hear from our children’s or youth choirs, or hear an instrumental or vocal ensemble. Our Chancel Choir sings each Sunday during the program year as well.
How would you describe the messages your pastor gives?
We believe you will find the sermons to be thoughtful, insightful, engaging, and perhaps even challenging. Sermons relate to our lives today so we can learn who we are as God’s children and how we can deepen our relationships with God, one another and our world.
How long is the church service?
A typical service is about 60 minutes. Occasionally, services may run a little longer during special celebrations.
How should I dress?
Comfortably! Some people like to dress up to go to church, while others like to dress more casually. It's up to you. Most people in our church dress in a "nice casual" manner. Feel free to dress as you feel most comfortable.
What kinds of children and youth programs are offered?
We offer quality childcare in our nursery on the upper level for infants and toddlers. We also have Sunday School programs for preschool through senior high students during the worship hour.
In addition to Sunday mornings, we host Club Luke from 4:30 to 5:30 Wednesday afternoons during the school year for children age 3 through grade 5 where children sing, share fellowship as well as crafts and games.
Our junior high youth group meets after church on Sundays during the school year and our senior high youth share fellowship at various times on Sundays during the school year (see the bulletin for times/locations). Both groups include fellowship, fun and service projects. We regularly sponsor mission trips for our youth.
We also offer extensive music programs for youth. Younger children age 3 through first grade sing in the Cherub Choir and children in grades 2-5 are part of our Carol Choir, which meets during Club Luke on Wednesdays 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Our Youth Choir for grades 6-12 rehearses Sundays during the school year.
How do I find out what is going on at St. Luke?
We keep a calendar on our website, www.stlukedg.org, and a weekly newsletter is sent out by e-mail. Our weekly bulletin also contains updates on events and activities. You may sign up to receive the church e-newsletter by sending a message to email@example.com.
How can I get involved?
Opportunities for involvement -- from small groups and volunteer opportunities to missions, ministry and music -- are open to anyone who wants to participate, members and visitors alike. Talk with the pastor or designated individuals who lead our church programs.
How do I get connected at St. Luke?
Exploring our website is your first step in getting to know about our church, our history, who we are, and where we are going! If you are new to St. Luke, please join us for worship on Sunday. We offer many opportunities to meet others and get involved. We offer social opportunities as well as groups where people meet to study the Bible, make friends, and care for each other. This is where you can begin to experience acceptance and community.
How do I join the choir?
We always welcome new voices. Send an e-mail to Choir Director Will Thomen or leave a message at the church office, 630-969-3121. Choir rehearsals are at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday during the fall/winter/spring.
When do you celebrate communion, and who may participate?
We celebrate the sacrament of communion (or "the Lord's Supper") the first Sunday of the month and at other special times (such as Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter Sunday). All believers who trust in Christ may participate. Children are welcome to participate, with their parents' guidance. Members unable to come to church may call the church office to request that communion be brought to them at home or at a healthcare facility.
At St. Luke, we alternate between a "unison" partaking of the communion elements and partaking by “intinction.” When we have a “unison” Sunday, the elements are distributed to the congregation in their seats, and then the pastor instructs everyone to eat or drink in unison. When we have an “intinction” Sunday, everyone is invited to the front of the church to tear off a piece of bread from a loaf, dip the bread into a cup of juice, eat the dipped bread, and be seated. (Those who so desire may be served in their seats.)
Our Deacons, Elders and staff are here to provide help, hope and healing for individuals going through difficult times. Please contact the church office or the pastor with your concern.
How do I contact the church?
Our address is:
3910 Highland Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 650515
You many always leave a message via phone or email:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Pastor’s Day Off: Mondays (but feel free to call for pastoral emergencies)
Does the church belong to a denomination?
We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a denomination of more than 10,000 churches.
What does "Presbyterian" mean?
The word "Presbyterian" comes from a Greek word, which means "Elder." The Presbyterian Church is a church governed by men and women called Elders who are elected by the congregation for a three-year term.
What is a "Presbyterian" church?
Presbyterian churches are part of the "One, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." More specifically, Presbyterians belong to the Reformed tradition -- a tradition that grew out of the Reformation movement in the 16th Century.
What do Presbyterians believe?
Presbyterian congregations do not require a uniformity of belief, but we are guided by the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and a Book of Confessions that includes the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, several confessions from the Reformation era, and three 20th Century confessions.
Are Presbyterians liberal or conservative?
Yes. And all shades in between. We find our unity in Jesus Christ, not in dogmatic formulations or ideological positions. Presbyterians have always been engaged in the great issues of the time
because we believe that anything that touches on the lives of women and men in this world is of concern to God and thus of concern to us.
I'm from a different denominational background. Is that OK?
Of course! St. Luke’s congregation has members who have come from Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, non-denominational, and a host of other backgrounds. While we adhere to the democratic organizational structure of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and are proud of our rich Reformed heritage, we believe that there is only one name that God identifies us by, and that is the name of Christ. We are Christians first!
Where can I find out more about the Presbyterian Church USA?
If you’re interested in learning more about the Presbyterian Church (USA), we encourage you to visit the denominational website at pcusa.org for more information.
What would I have to believe in order to join a Presbyterian Church?
We ask these questions of every person who asks to become a member: Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you desire to be Christ's disciple, to obey his word and share his love? Will you be a faithful member of this congregation?
What's the difference between a "Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)" and one that's "in America"?
American Presbyterian churches often identify themselves as being affiliates either of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), or PCUSA, or of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Both represent large organizations of member Presbyterian churches, and the two branches of Presbyterianism they espouse have some differences, although these differences may be hard to spot at a given church. PCA and PCUSA are not the only two organized Presbyterian churches in the United States, but they are perhaps the most prominent. PCUSA is the largest.
As the PCUSA website explains, "The Presbyterian church in the United States has split and parts have reunited several times. Currently the largest group is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has its national offices in Louisville, KY. It was formed in 1983 as a result of reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS), the so-called 'southern branch,' and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), the so-called 'northern branch.'"
BECOMING A MEMBER
As a first-time visitor, will I feel pressured to join? Can I just visit with no obligation?
Our church is a safe place for people to visit without any obligation. Come be part of our family for a few worship services or other events. The pastor is thrilled to spend time with you, hear about your life and your questions about St. Luke and faith, and together search for answers.
Is everyone really welcome at St. Luke?
Absolutely! We welcome people without regard for their age, race, gender, or status. We welcome spiritual seekers as well as veteran church goers.
I'm not sure I’m ready to join, but I am curious. Is there a place for me at St. Luke?
Yes indeed! If you are not ready to join the church, that is okay. Come and see. Talk to the pastor. Meet the people. Join our programs.
When I am ready, how do I go about joining the church?
Let the pastor or the Membership elder know of your interest. Our pastor will be happy to make an appointment to visit with you and explain the process. We receive persons into membership upon their confession of faith and baptism, or by reaffirmation of faith if they have received Christian baptism in some other congregation, or by transfer of membership from another congregation. St. Luke offers classes for new, prospective and long-term members. We often alternate the classes along these topics: Bible Basics, Presbyterian 101, and Living Faithfully in the 21st Century.
While attendance is not required, it is strongly encouraged that all church members be a part of adult Christian education classes to nurture their spiritual growth.