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On January 8th 1837, the Upper Alton Presbyterian Church was formally organized. Three Presbyterian Ministers assisted with the organization. Reverend F. W. Graves, who was pastor of the Lower Alton Church, Reverend T. B. Hurlbut , friend and associate of Lovejoy; and Reverend Thomas Lippincott who is credited with starting the first Sunday School in Illinois in Milton Village in 1919. There were twenty three members, Coming from the Lower Alton Church and from churches in other cities, some of the Congregationalist faith.
In the 174 years since, this church, this community of Christian people, has weathered the war between the states, years of world wars, hard times, good times depression years and years of comparative peace, external strife and internal quarrels. Through it all the grace and patience and love of God has held the Church together, using its leaders, members and pastors to further his Kingdom and work on earth in His own time and place.
The first church was built in 1836, at the present site, on land donated by Enoch Long. Prior to that, worship services were held in what was known as the "Little Brick Building". The original stone building burned in 1858 and construction on a frame ediface began immediately. Financial problems and the Civil War prevented completion until 1865 when the structure was finished and dedicated November 27, 1927.
The Reverend Eiljah Parish Lovejoy served as the first pastor of the church, January 8,- November 7, 1837. Reverend Charles G. Selleck was installed pastor, November 16, 1837.
The name "College Avenue Presbyterian Church" was officially adopted by the membership at a Congregational Meeting on October 1, 1925.