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Spring Creek United Church of Christ (Rockford)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

Box 4

Box 5

Box 6

Box 7

Scrapbook (1 volume)

Oversize Drawer 21

Oversize Drawer 22

Addendum 1

Addendum 2

Addendum 3

Contact us about this collection

Spring Creek United Church of Christ (Rockford), 1960+ | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Spring Creek United Church of Christ (Rockford), 1960+

ID: RHC/RC/287

Extent: 8.5 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 11/28/2007. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Congregationalists, Rockford (Ill.), Spring Creek Congregational Church, Rockford, Spring Creek United Church of Christ, Rockford, United Church of Christ

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection contains both paper and electronic documents pertaining to the history of the Spring Creek Congregational Church since its founding by Reverend Richard J. Nielsen in 1960.

The collection includes annual meetings, reports, financial reports, and building development and construction.  Numerous church committees are represented, some extensively, through meeting agendas and minutes, and miscellaneous correspondence.  Those committees include: Cabinet, Christian Education, Commitment Ministry, Council, Diaconate, Finance Ministry, Growth and Evangelism, Memorial, Mission Board, Music, Nominating, Pastoral Care, Steering, and Worship Ministry.

Additional papers in this portion of the collection include newsletters, membership lists, pictorial directories and guest books, as well as photos, press clippings, correspondence, and scrapbook pages documenting church retreats, missionary service, and community outreach.

The collection also includes scrapbooks, chronicling the weekly church service bulletins, press clippings about the church and its members, photographs, weddings, and other special services.  Documents contained in the scrapbooks range from 1960 until 2011.

Electronic records may be accessed in the Center’s reading room.

Collection Historical Note

On February 1, 1960, Reverend Richard J. Nielsen was sent by the Congregational Church Conference of Illinois to Rockford, for the purpose of formulating two new churches.  Originally meeting in the various homes of its first members, the churches later moved to local elementary schools.  They were named the Woodside Congregational Church and the Spring Creek Congregational Church.  The Spring Creek Congregational Church began with a parish of only 16 members.  On January 5, 1961, the membership of 63 invited Nielsen to become its permanent pastor.  By its one-year anniversary in the spring of that same year, its membership reached 80 members.

The church’s tremendous initial growth necessitated plans to construct a church building on a parcel of land owned by the church, located on Spring Creek Road in Rockford.  Ground was broken in the summer of 1962, and the newly-constructed, $95,000.00 building was ready for occupancy by the spring of 1963.  The first service in the church’s new permanent home was held on Palm Sunday, April 7, 1963.  Nielsen left the church in 1964 to pastor a church in Elkhart, IN.  He was replaced in the interim by Dr. Charles Cooley.  In that same year, the ever-expanding Sunday school prompted the building of an education wing.

Reverend William Bartholomew served as pastor from 1965 until 1973.  During Bartholomew’s ministry, both the music and sports programs expanded and a ball field was built.  Bartholomew continued to be a member of the church and served as Jail Chaplain in the Rockford area for many years.  Reverend John P. Jewell served as Associate Pastor from 1969-1971, and was succeeded by the Reverend Daniel Schiefeling, who served as Assistant Minister and then sole minister from 1971-1974.  Schiefeling helped to expand the church’s youth ministry as well as adult education programs.  Chaplain Rex Hanks assisted with sermons during this time as well.  In 1973, Peggy Guedet and Scott Ballard served as the church’s first missionaries by serving in Bali.

Reverend Walter B. McMullen became Minister in 1974 and served until 1979. During this time the Shepherd plan for the Diaconate began, as did the monthly Presidential Prayer Breakfasts.  The Spring Creek Church was led in the interim period of May, 1979 to February, 1980 by Drs. Leslie Kingsbury and Joel Tibbets - while Betty Kingsbury acted as visitation person, and Barbara Ballard handled organization duties.

Reverend Merle Steva led the congregation from 1980 until his retirement on April 30, 1993.  During Steva’s tenure as Minister, the church resumed two worship services, expanded Sunday school programs, and continued its very active youth, music, and numerous community outreach ministries.  Reverend Eric Dale served as interim pastor from 1993 to 1994, at which time Reverend Jack Kraaz was invited to serve as Minister.  Kraaz served from 1994-2000, at which time he accepted a position to head up a UCC missions church in Surprise, Arizona.

Reverend Janet Shelter served as Interim Pastor from 2000-2001, at which time the church invited Reverend Michael Simmons to become Pastor.

In 2005, the church undertook another major construction project, which included the construction of a new sanctuary, narthex, additional office space, bathrooms, and the re-paving of the parking lot.  The cost of the project was $1,200,000.00.  At the time of this most recent major construction, the Spring Creek Congregational Church, who had been a part of the United Church of Christ since 1957, became recognized officially as the Spring Creek United Church of Christ.  This was evidenced by their new outside marquis, church bulletins, and the church website bearing their new name.  In November of 2007, the congregation voted to become the Rockford area’s first Open and Affirming (ONA) church.  As of 2008, Reverend Simmons continued as Pastor.  Joanne Buss served as Associate Pastor from 2004-2007.  In July, 2008, the church reported approximately 275 members, and continued their very active ministries in the areas of commitment, fellowship, shepherding, building and grounds, music, and worship.  They also continued to reach out to the Rockford community, sponsor mission work, and offer support to charitable organizations throughout the United States and the entire world.

Subject/Index Terms

Rockford (Ill.)
Spring Creek Congregational Church, Rockford
Spring Creek United Church of Christ, Rockford
United Church of Christ

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional records were added at later dates.

Alternate Extent Statement: 1,319 digital files (625 MB)

Access Restrictions: There are not restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Pastor Michael O. Simmons, Nancy Houtz, and Steven Tirrell

Acquisition Method: Pastor Michael O. Simmons, Nancy Houtz, and Steven Tirrell, donated the records of the Spring Creek United Church of Christ to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on November 28, 2007.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Volume 1: Scrapbook (1 volume), 1969],
[Oversize Drawer 21],
[Oversize Drawer 22],
[Addendum 1],
[Addendum 2],
[Addendum 3],

Addendum 1
Box 8
Folder 1: List of Pastors, 1960-2007
Folder 2: Thanksgiving (11 photographs), 1962-1964
Folder 3: Member List, 1964
Folder 4: Nielsen's Resignation Letter, 1964
Folder 5: Educational Wing Opening, 1965
Folder 6: Constitution, 1967, no date
Folder 7: Church History, 1970
Folder 8: Certificate of Appreciation, 1984-1986
Folder 9: Newspapers, 1984-1987, no date
Folder 10: Book of Prayers, Spring 2003
Folder 11: History Digitization Record, 2006
Folder 12: Christmas Cards and Letters, 2006
Folder 13: Pastor Simmon's Sabbatical Journal, 2008
Folder 14: Newsletters, May 2010-June 2011
Folder 15: 50th Anniversary Event Guide, 2011
Folder 16: 50th Anniversary Program Booklet, 2011
Folder 17: Bulletins, (2011)
Box 9
Folder 1: Photographs: Pastor Photographs, 1960-1979
Folder 2: Photographs: Choirs, 1960's
Folder 3: Photographs: Congregation Members, 1960's
Folder 4: Photographs: New Building, 1962
Folder 5: Photographs: Children's Choir, 1965, no date
Folder 6: Photographs: Educational Wing Groundbreaking, 1965
Folder 7: Photographs: Church Groups and Christmas, 1966
Folder 8: Photographs: Unidentified Photographs, 1970's
Folder 9: Photographs: Day Camp, 1978
Folder 10: Photographs: Chili Shindig, 1987
Folder 11: Photographs: Exercise Group, 1995
Folder 12: Photographs: Exercise Group, 1999
Folder 13: Photographs: Staff Photographs, 2001
Folder 14: Photographs: Women's Banquet, 2001
Folder 15: Photographs: Grounds, 2002
Folder 16: Photographs: Confirmation, 2002
Folder 17: Photographs: Sunday School Adult Education, 2002
Folder 18: Photographs: Bug Safari, 2002
Folder 19: Photographs: Building and Grounds Log Jam, 2002
Folder 20: Photographs: Paint-A-Thon, 2002
Folder 21: Photographs: Christmas, 2002
Folder 22: Photographs: Soup Kitchen Crew, 2002
Folder 23: Photographs: Blessing of Bears, 2003
Folder 24: Photographs: Scenic 150 Bike Tour, 2003
Folder 25: Photographs: Smith (Fred) Farewell, 2003
Folder 26: Photographs: Thanksgiving, 2003
Folder 27: Photographs: Christmas, 2001, 2003
Folder 28: Photographs: Bible Study, 2004
Folder 29: Photographs: Women's Banquet, 2004
Folder 30: Photographs: Confirmation, 2004
Folder 31: Photographs: Kids Club, 2004
Folder 32: Photographs: Scenic 150 Bike Tour, 2004-2005
Folder 33: Photographs: Paint-A-Thon, 2004
Folder 34: Photographs: Women's Retreat, 2004
Folder 35: Photographs: Thanksgiving, 2004
Folder 36: Photographs: January Retreat, 2005
Folder 37: Photographs: New Building, 2005
Folder 38: Photographs: Stover (Viola) Birthday, 2005
Folder 39: Photographs: Women's Banquet, 2005
Folder 40: Photographs: Pork Chop Fellowship, 2005
Folder 41: Photographs: Kids Club, 2005
Folder 42: Photographs: Summer Exp, 2005
Folder 43: Photographs: Anniversary, 2005
Folder 44: Photographs: Rally Day, 2005
Folder 45: Photographs: Women's Retreat, 2005
Folder 46: Photographs: Exercise Group, 2005
Folder 47: Photographs: Unidentified Photographs, 2005
Folder 48: Photographs: Unidentified Photographs, 2006
Folder 49: Photographs: Confirmation, 2008
Folder 50: Book Presentation (2 Photo CDs), 2010-2011
Folder 51: "Michael's Last Service," (DVD), March 25, 2012
Folder 52: Photographs: Confirmation Class at Emmanuel's Soup Kitchen, no date
Folder 53: Photographs: Kid's Club, no date
Folder 54: Photographs: Steeple, no date
Folder 55: Photographs: Paster Mike, no date
Folder 56: Photographs: Identified Photographs, no date, 1994
Folder 57: Photographs: Unidentified Photographs, no date
Box 10
Item 1: Thanksgiving Scrapbook, 1961-1962
Item 2: Scrapbook, 1960-1961
Box 11
Item 1: Scrapbook, 1963-1965
Box 12
Folder 1: Scrapbook, 1985, 1987
Folder 2-3: Scrapbook, 1980-2005
Folder 4: Scrapbook, 2001-2002
Folder 5-6: Scrapbook, 2003-2005
Folder 7-12: Scrapbook, 2006-2011

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Volume 1: Scrapbook (1 volume), 1969],
[Oversize Drawer 21],
[Oversize Drawer 22],
[Addendum 1],
[Addendum 2],
[Addendum 3],

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