First United Methodist Church, Downers GroveIntroduction

Established in 1836, the First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove (DGFUMC) has grown to be a vital leader in our community. We offer many programs in Christian education for children, youth, and adults, to serve our 1,800+ member congregation.

More than 150 children attend Sunday School classes and there are currently 80 three and four year olds enrolled in the First United Methodist Preschool, which meets every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Our choirs consist of 190 children, youth, and adults, who lead worship in songs of praise, both classical and contemporary. Since 1971, the High School Chapel Choir has travelled around the country each year to deliver a Christian message through song and drama to other churches. We have two handbell choirs that ring out hymns of faith, and we a worship praise band. The Chancel Handbell Choir performs each year in Orchestra Hall during the intermission of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

DGFUMC works hard to maintain a warm and friendly environment while also offering a wealth of opportunities for personal spiritual growth.

Community Outreach

As one of the original churches from Downers Grove to be involved in FISH, our congregation continues to provide a record number of food and clothing donations, transportation assistance, and telephone volunteers.

Every Tuesday night, October through May, our church is a P.A.D.S. site, providing shelter for the homeless of DuPage County. We also actively participate in Bridge Communities. Our participation involves the financial and emotional support of three families for two years, as they work to move to an independent and hope-filled future.

Each summer, a team of youth and adults go on a Mission Work trip to help build or remodel homes for those with little financial resources. DGFUMC also contributes over $250,000 annually to other local, national, and international agencies. Reaching Out is a vital part of the Church's vision.

Senior Pastors

Since July, 2010, First United Methodist Church has been led by two Senior Co-Pastors, the Reverends Jim and Greta McDonald. They have been married since 1977, and each of them has 34 years of pastoral experience. Jim grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He received his BA with a double major in Sociology and History from the University of Manitoba. Greta grew up in northern Illinois, graduated from Dixon High School, received a BS in Communications-Journalism from the University of Illinois at Champaign, and served in 1974-75 as a part-time Senior High youth minister at Downers Grove First UMC.

Greta and Jim met at Iliff School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary in Denver, Colorado, where they both received Masters of Divinity degrees. Following seminary, Jim served the Hanover, Illinois UMC 8 years while Greta served the Elizabeth, Illinois UMC. They were both appointed as associate pastors to Libertyville UMC, where they served for 13½ years. Before coming to Downers Grove, they served as co-pastors of the New Lenox UMC for 11 years.

A Community of Christ

We extend opportunities to everyone to know God, grow in faith, and serve others.

We prepare one another for ministry,

act on our faith,

encourage and support all of God’s children,

and celebrate our life together in Christ.

We value children, youth, and adults; therefore we provide

lifelong Christian learning

to guide our faith in daily living,

service to our local and global neighbors

to express our love and faithfulness,

personal connection and fellowship

to support and nurture each other as members of the Body of Christ,

inspirational worship and music

to move minds, hearts, and souls,

a spirit of openness and hospitality

to welcome all who seek a church home,

and caring responsiveness

to meet the needs of a changing world.


God, as known to us in Jesus Christ, welcomes all.

We welcome people of any race, national origin, ethnicity, Shaking Handsgender, sexual orientation, age, social or economic status, employment status, or life situation;
including people with physical or mental illness or disability.

We practice loving acceptance of each person and respectful discussion of our differences.


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