Bethel United Church of Christ Community Mourns the Loss of Rev. Steve Schuette
Prayer service for the congregation will be held tonight at 7 p.m. Visitation and services for the community will be on Sunday and on Tuesday.
The congregation of Bethel United Church of Christ is mourning the loss of their pastor, Rev. Steve Schuette, who died suddenly Thursday evening.
Bethel Council President Stacey Rago said the 54-year-old Schuette, who had been a pastor at Bethel for six years, was out on a bike ride on the Salt Creek Trail when he collapsed.
“I don’t know exactly where he was on the trail, but someone passing by found him on the ground unresponsive, and they called 911,” she said. “The ambulance brought him to Hinsdale Hospital, which was the closest hospital to where he was. They were just never able to revive him.”
Schuette, an Elmhurst resident, was an avid bike rider, she said, and he had done a number of multi-state bike rides.
“He did a ride through Iowa last year,” she said. “He was actually out riding, preparing for another long ride.”
The church will hold a prayer service for the congregation at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, March 18, at the church, 315 E. St. Charles Road.
"It is really for our congregation to come, to have an opportunity to hold one another, not knowing what else to do," she said. "(His death) was so sudden."
Members of the community are invited to attend a visitation from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 20, and again from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the church. Following Tuesday’s visitation, at 5 p.m., the church will hold a memorial service.
Schuette also sang in Elmhurst Choral Union's tenor section for a number of years, said Gail Mrozak, who is on the board of directors of Elmhurst Choral Union. The group will dedicate its Sunday, April 3, performance of Brahms' A German Requiem to Schuette's memory. The performance will be at 3 p.m. at Hammerschmidt Chapel at Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave.
Schuette is survived by his wife, Barb, and their two grown children, Paul and Jill.
Rago said the congregation has been notified of his passing.
“We’re all coming together as best we can to celebrate him and to mourn him,” she said.
Members of the clergy throughout Elmhurst also have gathered to celebrate his life, including members of other denominations, she said.
“We’re devastated,” Rago said. “He was vital and strong, a gentle leader for our church.”