BUILDING STONES FROM PAST TO PRESENT
Zion Lutheran Church of the midtown envisioned a Sunday School mission in the Rockview area. Classes first met in 1917 in a cement-block store building near the southeast corner of 20th Street and 14th Avenue(Broadway). On July 27, 1924, the Rockview Sunday School processed in song the three blocks up the hill to a new chapel at our present location. A congregation was formally organized with the help of the Illinois Conference of the Augustana Synod on February 12, 1925, with 94 adults and 61 children as charter members.
The original name was Evangelical Lutheran Tabor Congregation. Services were held in both English and Swedish in the early years. By 1930 the Sunday School enrollment had risen to 445. Building plans were slowed with the Depression years, but by 1935 Tabor had doubled the size of its chapel, and a south wing was added in 1949. Tabor’s present sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen were completed in 1957. The last two-story west wing addition was completed in 1990, with elevator, offices, library and additional classrooms. Later Tabor became Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The Rev. Elmer Friedlund served as Tabor’s first pastor from 1925-1927. The Rev. Clarence H. Anderzon followed in 1928, serving faithfully for 41 years, through 1969. The Rev. Harvey M. Johnson served tabor for 22 years, from 196 through 1991. The Rev. Paul H. Wold began his ministry in September of 1991, retiring in 2006. Tabor is currently served by the Rev. Jane McChesney. This is the first pastorate that is shared with another congregation, First Lutheran Church of Rockford. Several seminary interns served Tabor over the years, as well as Assistant Pastors including Rev. Bruce Welander, 1966-1969; Rev. Galinton Bryan, 1975-1981, and Rev. Robert Lesher, Jr., 1981-1984.
Tabor has been privileged to have the Lutheran Learning Academy utilize classrooms for pre-schoolers and kindergarten children, ages three through five, with before and after-school programming offered as well. Following their years here, Tabor became home to one of the service sites for Brightside, a day program for older clients with dementia out of Lifescapes .
Tabor is proud of its heritage in the past Augustana Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, formed in 1988, celebrating their 25th anniversary in the year 2013. Tabor is a congregation in Northern Illinois Synod, who celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2012. Other partnerships include Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, for over 27 years, as well as a newly created partnership with the Midtown Lutheran Parish, including Calvary, Emmanuel, First, Salem, Trinity, and Zion. We seek to re-develop and re-vitalize the inner city of the midtown of Rockford by our faithful outreach and mission work.
We give thanks to God for the many blessings we have experienced and the tenacity to remain a faithful neighborhood, community, and global church, doing God’s work with our hands!