History of the Village of Royal

Royal, Illinois is a small town that consists of a couple of grain elevators at the intersection of a railroad and County Road 20. With only a few dozen houses, the town boasts a minimal population of nearly 300 people. Nonetheless, this small, rural community quietly shares a heritage of a community that can accomplish great things with shared vision.

Nearly a hundred years ago, the people of St. John Lutheran Church decided to move their church building into town, to better serve current and future generations of people in the village of Royal. Not everyone initially wanted to move the church building; the vote to move was narrowly split. Nonetheless, having made the decision, the congregation came together and embraced the vision for a ministry within the village of Royal. The people worked together for many long, hard hours to move their church home. Carefully and lovingly, the men and boys of the congregation deconstructed the church, brick by brick, and transported the bricks from out in the country into the village of Royal. There, the congregation women and older men painstakingly cleaned the mortar from the bricks, one by one, to provide the building blocks for a new St. John Lutheran Church to serve the people of Royal. It was a shared labor of love. The church still stands today, with 831 members and an average attendance of 200 people.[8]

Furthermore, this embodied example of people working together with shared vision in a labor of love made an impact on the wider community in Royal. Several years later, in 1982 around the time of the town’s centennial anniversary, people began to talk to one another about constructing a shared Community Building to benefit the current and future people of Royal. Hearkening back to the example of the members of St. John’s, the wider community came together around the shared vision of a community of people living together. This vision took was embodied in the concept of a Community Building.

An apartment building in Champaign, Illinois needed to be demolished. Hearkening back to the example of the people of St. John Lutheran, the people gathered the bricks, and worked together to accomplish the arduous task of cleaning the mortar from each individual brick. The people then built the new Community Building with these bricks, and it was completed the year after the centennial. The building still stands today, and is used routinely by the people of Royal for personal and public events for little or no cost.