West Aurora church merges

After 163 years in ministry, Aurora Advent Christian Church holds farewell worship service

AURORA, Ill., April 3, 2023 — With tears, hugs and bittersweet memories, Aurora Advent Christian Church held its final worship service on Sunday, April 2, after 163 years of ministry.

The Rev. Matt Mull, senior pastor, presided at the emotional two-hour service attended by about 75 congregants and former members.

On Easter Sunday, April 9, Advent will combine with Redeemer Community Church, formerly of Oswego and co-located at Advent since 2020.

Celebrating Palm Sunday, the service opened with Pastor Mull leading youth down the center aisle waving palm fronds.

After a welcome by Rev. Mull, he invited guests to share reflections of Aurora Advent. Sandy Mulligan, head elder, passed a portable microphone to volunteers in the sanctuary.

A dozen speakers ranged from local congregants to videotaped messages to others who traveled from out of state.

Bill Wrought came from Midland, Mich., to recount memories by him and his wife Barbara.

Sending videotaped messages were Mull’s predecessor, Rev. Kenneth Latimore, Jr., and his wife; and Rev. Bob Copeland, former associate pastor.

Vic Mead
Vic Mead of Aurora, 68-year congregant at Aurora Advent Christian Church, speaks on Palm Sunday, April 2, the final worship service for the 163-year-old ministry. (Al Benson photo)

Vic Mead of Aurora, a congregant for his 68 years, recalled how his parents brought him as an infant to the former Advent location on west Galena Boulevard in Aurora.

After reflections, Rev. Mull preached on the first Palm Sunday.

To conclude the service, he partnered with Josh Fenska, Redeemer preaching pastor, to serve communion.

Advent and Redeemer will join on Easter Sunday, April 9.

A hospitality period at 9:15 a.m. will feature refreshments donated by congregants. Easter worship will be at 10 a.m.

Rev. Mull said, “This day marks the beginning of our combined congregations celebrating the risen Christ and worshipping together regularly.”

A legacy celebration, “Celebrating the Past: Building the Future,” is set for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

Congregants are invited to share.

Pauline Easley of Aurora (1937-2023), former church archivist, wrote in “Aurora Advent Christian Church History 1860-2010,” that Aurora Advent Christians began worshipping in local homes in October 1854.

After moving from Plank Junior High School in Oswego, the Redeemer congregation began outdoor worship services at Advent in a tent on a back lawn in August 2020.

When winter weather arrived, Redeemer held worship services indoors on afternoons at Advent.

Located at 905 N. Edgelawn Drive in Aurora,  Redeemer now holds worship services at 10 a.m..

Call (630) 896-1963 for more information.

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Al Benson
Freelance Photo-Journalist

Al Benson is an Aurora-based freelance photo-journalist. He is currently an archives research specialist at Aurora University. His work has appeared in The Voice, The Daily Herald, The Beacon-News, and the Chicago Tribune.

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