The Evangelical Covenant Church of Princeton has a long history of proclaiming and living out the Gospel. We seek to ground ourselves in the traditions of the Christian faith, while being open to new expressions of God’s transforming grace.
Our church began within the Swedish immigrant community in Princeton. Many Svenska folk, as they were called, came to America in the middle of the 19th century. They hoped to find more freedom and economic opportunity in this new land. Many Swedes settled in Princeton because of its rich farmland and proximity to the railroad.
Some of the immigrants were looking for greater spiritual freedom as well. They came to America in order to escape the stagnant environment of the state church in Sweden. In 1863, S.P. Lundholm, his wife and his brother-in-law John Hogberg arrived in Princeton. They brought with them the spirit of revival that had begun to sweep through the Lutheran church in Sweden. Their hearts were burning with their newfound experience of conversion, whereby they came to know Jesus Christ in a personal and transformational way. They began to share the joy of their faith with other immigrants through home gatherings, singing, and above all, reading together the scriptures. Many came to know God in a new and joyful way.
By 1868, the group had grown so large that a building was needed to house the meetings, so they constructed a little school house just outside of town. By the end of the year, it was clear that this group of Christians, passionate about God and his mission on earth, had become a church. They made it official on December 16, 1868. Thirty-two men and women became charter members of the newborn church.
Over the years, our church has moved into the center of town and expanded its worship space. We have lost much of the Swedish character of the early days of the church. Our people come from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith journeys. But we continue to stand firm in the historic Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are still passionate about God’s word. We are still focused on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And we are still committed to sharing the Good News with everyone in our community, our country, and our world. We are grateful for the foundation laid for us by humble, Christ-filled immigrants, almost 150 years ago.
We celebrate our wonderful history of God’s grace, and we look forward to what he will do in and through us in the future!