Naperville Chinese church moving out of downtown

A downtown Naperville congregation is moving out of the historic former Nichols Library and into a new church at Mill Street and Bauer Road.

Truth Lutheran Church, a Chinese congregation with services in English and Mandarin, plans to build on a vacant 3-acre site the city council annexed Tuesday.

The 80-member church plans to build a one-story brick worship space of 15,000 square feet where it can host services, an English ministry, children's programs and tutoring. The new location south of HarborChase assisted living and memory care will allow the church to move from its current space at 110 S. Washington St.

Samuel Schleif, pastor of English ministries, said Truth Lutheran's new home will be a place of "spiritual support where residents can come and feel welcomed and find community and eat Chinese food with us after church."

To neighbors in the Cress Creek subdivision who voiced concerns about additional traffic, church member Vicky Shih emphasized the congregation's small size and rule-following, honest nature.

"We believe we will not increase the traffic issue," she said. "We will cooperate with the neighborhood to make the area more livable and more peaceful."

To build on the vacant site across the street from Nike Sports Complex and Mayneland Farm, the church is buying a small parcel of land from the city for $68,609.

While the council unanimously approved most of Truth Lutheran's plans, there was disagreement on whether future access should be allowed between the church's parking lot and whatever develops to its north between the worship space and the senior living facility.

Several neighbors said allowing a parking lot connection would encourage drivers to cut through the lots and then their subdivision streets to stay off main roads like Mill and Bauer. Council members voted 5-3 to approve the project without permission to create a future parking lot connection. Council members Judith Brodhead, John Krummen and Mayor Steve Chirico voted no and council member Rebecca Boyd-Obarski was absent.

  This vacant 3-acre space at the northwest corner of Mill Street and Bauer Road is the future site of Truth Lutheran Church in Naperville. The city council approved annexation of the land along with the church's plans to build a 15,000-square-foot worship center and 170 parking spaces. Bev Horne/
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