A celebration is planned at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove as the Rev. Scott Oberle is formally installed as pastor.
Oberle began his ministry in February, but an installation service provides a covenant between a pastor, the congregation and the Fox Valley Association of the United Church of Christ. As part of the service, three trees will be planted outside the church to signify that “growing together.”
In his brief time in Downers Grove, Oberle has created an ecumenical running group which meets Saturday mornings for a brief devotion and then a run or power walk. Runs have begun from the church, 1047 Curtiss St., and from Blackwell Forest Preserve. The morning of his installation, Oberle and the growing group, currently about five regulars who run and power walk, will participate in the 10K at Morton Arboretum.
Oberle has also become active in the mission ministries at First Congregational UCC, often assisting at PADS on Monday evenings. He is working to involve the church in the Night Ministry out of Chicago, and is making plans for a work trip to areas of southern Illinois ravaged by tornadoes in February. This week he is joining the confirmation class and other congregation members who volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The installation service will be officiated by the Rev. Jonathan Knight, an associate Illinois Conference minister for the United Church of Christ. Also participating will be the Rev. Kirk Moore, recently called pastor at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Downers Grove, and the Rev. Kevin McLemore of Epiphany United Church of Christ in Chicago, a friend of Oberle’s from his days in Michigan. A reception will be held immediately following the service.
Oberle and his wife, Robin, a native of Homer Township, have twin 3-year-old daughters and a 6-month-old daughter. They have made their home in Woodridge. Oberle has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Miami University (Ohio), and a master of divinity degree in biblical studies from Duke Divinity School in North Carolina. Oberle is the 38th ordained pastor to serve at the church in its 147-year history. He is the 29th settled senior pastor, but just the fourth to serve in that role since 1951.