Leadership at First Pres

Leadership at First Pres takes the form of several groups of God-centered people.
Our elders provide spiritual, operational, and financial oversight. Our deacons minister to many daily and weekly congregational needs.


Elders form the core of our leadership. They are chosen because of their spiritual maturity and their willingness to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, follow biblical principles, and care for the spiritual and material needs of the congregation.

We elect 15 elders to serve on our Board of Session. Once elected, they are charged with seeking and discerning the will of God which may or may not represent the various opinions of our congregation. In the same way, our Session elects elders to serve as commissioners to regional assemblies called presbyteries.

Roberta Gates, Riverside
Ruth Johnson, River Grove
BIll Kooser, Chicago
Heather Radzinski, Oak Park


Steve Brenneman, River Forest
Sally Gamble, Oak Park
Rick Hibbert, Elmwood Park
Laura Westcott, Forest Park
Larry Williams, Oak Park

Jeremy Fine, River Forest
Chuck Foster, River Forest
Kristen Schumacher, Elmhurst
Rosemary Pacyga, Forest Park
Francis Kwakwa, River Forest


Deacons are chosen because of their heart for service, hospitality, compassion, and care. First Pres deacons are in active service for period of three years.

Deacons and elders are ordained during public worship by the laying on of hands (a biblical practice) and prayer.

Maryellen Betke, Melrose Park (Moderator)
Amanda Ebersole, Oak Park
Lena Fagadore, Oak Park
Joe Hammon, River Grove
Cindy Reynolds, Riverside
Liz Winans, Oak Park

Douglas Colber, Elmhurst
Mary Ann Cooper, River Forest

Mike Gates, Riverside
Don Huber, River Forest
Carly Jones, River Forest
Mark Jurewicz, Maywood

MInistry Teams

Our elders and deacons are each part of a Ministry Team. Ministry Teams at First Pres are in place to guide our mission and ministry. These teams allow us to shepherd and care with greater effectiveness, leveraging the unique gifts of individuals in our midst.

Responsible for overseeing real property, endowments, insurance, budget, and finances of First Pres, along with budgeting and stewardship. The Administration Ministry Team is staffed by the Ministry Coordinator, Facility Manager, Technology Manager, and Pastor. This Team meets on the second Wednesday of each month.

Responsible for nurturing lasting growth in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus Christ for all ages. Specific areas of focus are: small groups, growth opportunities for adults, youth, and children; retreats; and visitor/new member orientation. This team is staffed by the Pastor and the Directors of Youth and Children’s Ministries. This Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month.

This new ministry team is responsible for connecting First Pres with the surrounding community in order to live and share the gospel. This includes analyzing and assessing needs and opportunities, planning outreach strategies, nurturing a spirit of hospitality and welcome, and assisting in the assimilation of visitors and new members. This Team is comprised of elders and deacons and is staffed by the Pastor, Ministry Coordinator, and Director of Communications. Monthly meeting TBA.

Responsible for local and global mission connections, recruitment for hands-on mission participation, interpretation of mission causes to the congregation, and administering the financial support for all mission partnerships of First Pres. The team is staffed by the Pastor. This Team meets as needed.

Responsible for the care and supervision of the church staff, including advice and counsel for the Senior Pastor in all aspects of staff supervision, monitoring of salaries and benefits, insurance, resolution of staff issues, and prayer. This is a set Team comprised of one serving elder and four reserve elders. Staff Care Ministry Team is staffed by the Pastor and meets the first Wednesday of the month.

Responsible for assessing the worship needs of First Pres, helping the staff design and implement meaningful, appropriate worship services, promoting the worship ministry, and coordinating volunteers for worship support. This team is staffed by the Pastor, Director of Music, and Contemporary Music Leader. Monthly meeting TBA.