Our Church History

The Wilton Center Federated Church is the union of a Baptist congregation, which began services in the mid 1850′s, and a Methodist congregation that was started in the mid 1860′s. Both churches were in their own church buildings until 1919. It was in 1919 that both congregations decided to merge to better serve the Lord as one. A constitution was written and agreed upon by both congregations. Although it has been revised, the basics of that agreement are still in force today. The Constitution states that when possible, pastors will alternate between Baptist and Methodist without regard for length of stay. The joint congregation decided to use the Methodist Church building for services. The Baptist building was later sold to the Peotone School District.

The congregation met in the Methodist building until the pastorate of Rev. David Butler. At that time, it was decided we needed to build a new church to better serve the Lord. The ground breaking was in April, 1956. The old building was dismantled and much of the materials from that building were utilized to build the new building. A member of the church, Mr. George Barr served as the architect and general contractor. With the Lord watching over us and with everyone’s help, the building was completed and dedicated on September 1, 1956.

As early as 1976 the church began looking at ways to expand the church building. Because of limitations in the size of the lot, these thoughts were abandoned by 1988 and we began looking for land to build a new building. After many years of praying and planning, we broke ground on a new building in September 2004. Our current facilities were completed in a year later September, 2005 about 1/4 mile east of the previous building.

Thirty one installed pastors and have served our church since the Federation was formed. We have also been blessed with many dedicated people over the years serving the church with a variety of contributions. While it would be impossible to name all of them, some well-known and loved include:

  • The Warren Family laid the foundation for the Sunday school program.
  • Frances and Carl Lawrence and Mr. & Mrs. Wallace Giles were also extremely active in developing the Sunday school program. 
  • The George Barr family played a major role in building the 1956 church building.
  • Rev. Harry Felmly, who served our church from 1944-1949, was an excellent people person and had a strong influence on the youth of the church. 
  • Rev. Kenneth Anderson served from 1949-1954. He also was very involved with the young people and made a memorable impact on the Christian lives of several of our current members. 
  • Rev. David Butler, who served from 1955-1959, was the moving force behind the 1956 building.
  • Rev. Norman Smith and Rev. Louis Combs were both quite effective in church growth. It was during the pastorate of both of these pastors that our average attendance rose above 100.
  • Rev. Heather Henson began her ministry in Wilton Center and us reach a younger generation.
  • We have had six Baptist pastors ordained in our church, including Rev. Harry Felmly, Rev. Kenneth Anderson, Rev. Norman Smith, and Rev. Robert Scott, Rev. David Butler and Rev. Heather Henson.

We look forward to 2019 when we will be celebrating 100 years as a federated congregation of Baptists and Methodists serving God within our community.