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Our History

Founding

The first Episcopal service in Grayslake was held on October 20, 1907. Seventy people attended the service, which was officiated by The Rev. William E. Toll, the rector of Christ Church, Waukegan. Fr. Toll, who later became suffragan bishop to the Rt. Rev. Charles P. Anderson, traveled through Lake and McHenry Counties with his horse and buggy, ministering to people in small towns and rural areas.

On April 11, 1908, Bishop Anderson appointed a finance committee for this unorganized mission. For five years, Fr. Toll celebrated the Eucharist every other week at various sites in Grayslake. Reginald Godfrey, who owned a haberdashery on Center Street, was appointed a layreader and read morning prayer on alternate weeks. In 1913, The Rev. Edward S. White, who was the resident priest in Libertyville, also became priest in charge of the new missions in Grayslake and Antioch. Each Sunday Fr. White held a service in Libertyville, traveled by train to Grayslake for another service, and then rode a horse and buggy to Antioch for a third service.

1910s

A Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized in 1914, and this group raised the $1,000 necessary to purchase the property at the corner of Park Avenue and Lake Street, which is the church’s present site.

In 1916 the congregation petitioned to become an organized mission in the diocese with the name of St. Andrew. At this point Fr. White left, and supply priests and seminarians served the congregation.

1920s

The Rev. Humphrey Campbell Dixon became the priest in 1927, the year the congregation was financially able to start building. The cornerstone was laid on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1927, with Bishop Randall presiding, and the first services in the building were held on February 5, 1928. The church was dedicated a month later but not consecrated until 1942. Total cost of the building, which was designed by Lake County architect and parishioner Carl Clausen, was $12,000. It is the oldest structure in the Village of Grayslake that has been continuously used as a church.

1940s

After World War II, St. Andrew’s started to grow along with the Village of Grayslake, which had doubled in size to nearly 2,000 residents. In 1949, the home directly east of the church was purchased for $10,000 to serve as the rectory. During the postwar period, The Rev. Robert Liebenow became the first vicar to live in Grayslake.

1950s

In 1950, The Rev. Jon K. Smedberg, who was still a deacon, was placed in charge of the congregation. Construction and remodeling for an expanded church structure started in 1952 when LD Carlson chaired the building committee. A parish hall and kitchen were added, and the original church was expanded to increase seating capacity. A choir loft and changing rooms were also added. The work was completed in 1955.

The year 1955 is significant in St. Andrew’s history for another reason: The diocese granted St. Andrew’s parish status, and the Rev. Jon K. Smedberg, now a priest, was named the first rector. Fr. Smedberg left to become rector of Emmanuel Church in Rockford in 1957.

The Rev. Louis Sigman, who was the curate at St. Andrew’s, became the new rector.

1960s

The Rev. Richard D. Taylor succeeded Fr. Sigman in 1965. Over the years, additional changes were made to the church buildings. In 1966, a building addition containing offices, classes, and meeting rooms was completed. And in the 1980s LD Carlson led the drive to install stained glass windows depicting the seven sacraments on either side of the nave.

1970s

The Rev. Robert Locke became rector in December 1969 when Fr. Taylor retired. In 1979 he was succeeded by the Rev. Lee Gross, who left to become a Roman Catholic priest.

1980s

The Rev. Kurt Behrel was elected rector in 1985 and served until February 2001. During the search process for a new rector the parish was served by two interim rectors, the Rev. Richard Crist and the Rev. Lynn White. During this time a new playground was installed in the location of the former rectory garage, and major renovations of the undercroft and rectory were undertaken to accommodate the growing Christian education program.

2000s

In November, 2003 the vestry called the Rev. Dr. Claire Tenny to serve as the seventh rector of St. Andrew’s. During her tenure, Elijah's Mantle, our outreach ministry was founded, and the congregation undertook a very successful Capital Campaign. Rev. Tenny served until April of 2006.

In May of 2004, Elijah’s Mantle was founded as a community service project of St. Andrew Episcopal Church to provide gently used children’s clothing to families in need. Elijah’s mantle is open to the public on the second Saturday of each month, from 9:00 am to 11 am, with children’s clothing sizes available from infant sizes to size 16. An annual Toy drive each December for families in need has become an annual tradition.

In 2005, St. Andrew concluded an extremely successful Capital Campaign, surpassing its goal by over 10%. The gifts of the congregation are funding needed maintenance and building improvement projects church-wide.

The Rev. Jane A. Clark was called to serve as priest-in-charge for St. Andrew in April of 2006.