The founding of Beautiful Savior is a testament to the grace and power of God. It is our story: a group of Lutheran Christians who were willing to sacrifice greatly because of our love for God and His Word. It is the story of God’s protection and guidance as our congregation formed and as we seek to fulfill God’s destiny for us.
Beautiful Savior began when God brought together a group of Christians to consider the possibility of forming a new congregation in the Antioch area. We met in the home of Gary & Diane H. During weeks of prayer and discussion, we had to settle exactly who we would be as a congregation and what our beliefs were and are. We realized that we were all on the same page when it came to basic Christian teachings, as well as in a historical view of the Bible. After much prayer and discussion, the Lord led us to form a new Lutheran congregation named Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. Though we made the decision to be independent of all larger Lutheran church bodies, we did encourage our fouding pastor, Pastor Darald Gruen, to apply for a colloquy into the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). He did apply and was very quickly accepted by the LCMS with no further academic requirements.
Beginning our congregation was not easy, but it was a great joy to all of us. Filled with zeal for the Lord and for the project before us, we found various places in which to worship, and we gradually developed our own style of worship. It did, and still does, contain all the features of the historic Christian worship service, but in a more relaxed, family-like setting. Because we could not set aside the awesome hymns of the centuries and we did not want to ignore the beautiful contemporary Christian music, we adopted a worship service which blended the two. We called one of our members, Bill B., to serve as our part-time music director, and our Lord blessed us with meaningful and edifying worship services. We recognized various men within our congregation as elders and deacons, and they began assisting Pastor Gruen in the leadership of the congregation.
Our members were very committed to giving financially to this work of the Lord. Though we never passed an offering plate during a worship service, our members gave to the Lord’s work so faithfully that we never had to delay the payment of a bill for even a single week. It is also interesting to note that, while most new congregations receive large amounts of financial support from established congregations and church bodies, Beautiful Savior has not received any regular financial support in that fashion.
In the course of time the leaders of our congregation began to recognize the value of being a part of a larger church body. We invited the officials of the LCMS Northern Illinois District (NID) to speak to us about the LCMS. We at Beautiful Savior were absolutely impressed by the spiritual quality of these LCMS officials. Since we believed that we were already LCMS in doctrine and practice, we made an official application to have our congregation become a member. The District Council of the LCMS NID officially accepted us the very next day – March 20, 2000. On May 14, 2000 we celebrated Charter Sunday. LCMS President Bill Ameiss delivered the sermon and presented the congregation with its charter membership.
As our congregation expanded, we decided we needed a church building of our own, and began looking for land. We looked for months but found nothing suitable. Eventually, the Lord led us to a retired couple who owned land that they had used as a strawberry farm. When we first met with them, it did not seem hopeful, but God was again gracious to us. He led the couple to sell 5.9 acres of beautiful land to us at a very fair price. We purchased the land for the current site of the church on July 18, 2001.
Our congregation conducted our Land Dedication and Groundbreaking Ceremony on June 5, 2005. Congregational speakers at the ceremony were Congregational Chairman Mike G. and Building Committee Chairman Gary H. Guest speakers were Antioch Mayor Dorothy Larson and LCMS Circuit Counselor Pastor Wayne Jahn.
During the summer of 2005, Laborers for Christ arrived to help us with the construction of the church building. Six couples came with their RVs and camped on the property owned by Casey & Rose Y., and another laborer commuted from Kenosha. With our members and the Laborers working together into early autumn, the church went up quickly. The winter of 2005-2006 saw a three-month delay because of water sprinkler regulations. The matter was resolved and our work continued that spring. We passed all the preliminary inspections in early August, and finally the Occupancy Permit was granted on August 17, 2006.
With grateful hearts we celebrated our first service, our Dedication Service, in our new church on August 27, 2006.
Over the years we have worshipped in a living room, a garage, a Christian camp, a Baptist church, an Episcopalian church, a public school, and the Antioch/Lake Villa Township Center. We have conducted classes in those buildings, plus many homes and a Methodist church. We have often conducted Ash Wednesday services on Thursday and Maundy Thursday services on Wednesday because those were the only dates we could find an unused church. We have been sojourners who needed to set up musical equipment before each and every church service. We have looked forward to the luxury of having our own church for our worship services, Bible classes, and fellowship. Now, when we can walk onto our holy land and worship in our church, we truly rejoice – not just because we finally have our own church, but also because that land and church are a foretaste to us of the Paradise being prepared for us by our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Summer of 2014, Pastor Gruen retired, after 41 years of ministry. Though he is missed, we were been blessed with a arrival of Interim Pastor Steve Woita from Fall 2014 through Easter 2015. In May of 2015, we called Rev. Gary Scharrer to serve as full-time pastor. Pastor Gary resigned in January 2017, and we are currently seeking a full-time pastor.
Throughout our existence the hand of God has been clearly seen. He brought together a very special group of believers to form this congregation. He has added precious brothers and sisters over the years according His good pleasure and will. He has truly molded us into one loving congregational family. He has filled the hearts of our members with kindness, generosity, and a willingness to serve. It would be impossible for us to list all that the members freely do for the Lord and for one another. Clearly, the Lord has watched over us every step of the way. With great optimism, we firmly believe that He will continue to watch over this congregation in the future.
If you have any questions about our congregation’s doctrine, practice, or history, please contact us at 847-395-9400 or via email.