Naperville and Lisle were considered to be one where the first Brethren settlers arrived in the area. The Jacob Netzley family was the first Brethren family to settle in the Lisle area in 1849. Netzley was able to bring together eleven Brethren who would become charter members in forming the Naperville German Baptist Brethren Church.
For more than a decade the church would hold meetings in members’ homes until it became necessary to build a place of worship. In 1867 a meeting house was built on the property donated by the Erb family on the north side of town. A young man named Wilbur Stover would attend here when he lived in the neighborhood. Stover would eventually marry Mary Emmert, the great granddaughter of Joseph Emmert, one of the founding fathers of the church. The Stovers would also become the first Brethren missionaries to India.
The rural country farmers church would move to downtown Naperville in 1907. The church would thrive, establishing mission points in Joliet and Batavia. Change was inevitable as the church would adapt to a modern world. A Ladies Aid, Women's Missionary Society, Membership Committee, Christian Workers Society and many other programs were established as outreach.
Eventually the congregation would become too large for the Benton Street location and move to its present location in 1968. The entire church was involved in building the new church. Men, women and children would all work to save on costs and build the new church. The new church would be large enough to fulfill the vision to provide child-care to the community and serve as an outreach. Little Shepherd Day School would be the first child care facility in the area.
The church would continue to see many changes at its new location. In the 1970’s employment opportunities brought some Indian Brethren to the Naperville area. How ironic is it that descendants of those Indians, that the Stovers brought to Christianity, would attend the same church that Wilbur attended as a young man? Some of the members today are descendants of orphans that the Stovers and Bertha Ryan raised.
One hundred and sixty-six years have passed, and the church has survived through many struggles. God continues to bring us together as a fellowship of believers, to worship, to serve, to learn and grow in our faith. We follow Jesus as a model for our daily living.
The Naperville Church of the Brethren is a multi-cultural congregation that emphasizes service, peace, community and witness. We are one of the three historic peace churches—the Mennonites and Quakers being the other two.
There are at least five ethnic groups that comprise our membership--Indian, Caucasian, Jamaican, and African American. Our pastor is Dennis Webb, originally from Jamaica, and has been serving us for the past 18 years.
We consider ourselves to be an inviting, warm, and loving congregation that preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ, make every effort to live out that gospel, and we seek to reach out to our community in a variety of ways.
Day School/Pre-School/Day Care: We have one of the oldest Day Schools in Naperville--Little Shepherd Day School. About 90 kids are enrolled each year. Every Wednesday and Thursday Pastor Dennis Webb leads the school in a time of exciting, fun-filled, Bible-based worship with lots of singing and music. The Day School kids always have a great time in worship.
These are just some of the unique things about our church. If you do not have a church home, or if you are simply looking for a warm, inviting, church with exciting preaching and a warm, inviting worship service, we would love to have you. Come check us out!