First United Methodist Church was served by circuit riders in the early 1800s before the church was officially organized and founded as a Methodist Church in 1856. The Sanctuary was built in 1857 and part of the facility is still in use today. The church, also known as the Lighthouse on the Ridge, is reported to be the oldest church structure in Park Ridge.
For over 150 years, First United Methodist Church has striven to live out its core values of love, compassion and spiritual growth and is the home of many distinguished past and present Park Ridge residents. Boy Scout Troop #1, the first troop for the Boy Scout organization, was founded in the Church and still uses our facilities today. Avenues To Independence, a local non-profit which assists the developmentally disabled, began in our church in 1953. The Park Ridge Teen Center offered a safe place for the youth of our community for more than 25 years; staffed by volunteers, it was located at the Church.
Continuing a tradition of more than 50 years, the church is active in social issues through hands-on projects in Chicago neighborhoods and work camps throughout the Midwest, on native American reservations and in Appalachia. We support Volunteers in Mission, and for more than 100 years, the current unit of the United Methodist Women and its predecessor groups have joined women throughout the world to advocate for the rights of women and children through participation in the largest women’s mission-giving effort in the world. More recently our church members have been helping support African missions to Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Senegal.