First United is a church of 600-plus members that is affiliated with two denominations — the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Two Oak Park churches, First Presbyterian Church and First Congregational Church, merged in 1975 to form First United Church of Oak Park. We follow the polity of both denominations and also have our own unique approach to governance.
Our lay leadership consists of an elected Council of between 13 and 17 members (including two teenagers) to serve as the church’s governing body. Our Board of Deacons nurtures a culture of caring within the church community. Read about all of our church committees here. First United also has a rich history, which can be found here.
Council. Church Council is chaired by the Church Moderator and has a Clerk (Secretary). Council members serve three-year terms, with a one-time option to extend for an additional year.
All members of the congregation are eligible to serve on the Council. Council members are nominated by the church’s Nominating Committee and are elected by the congregation. Approximately one-third of the members are elected annually in the spring. Council meetings are open to the congregation and are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
Members of the pastoral staff are ex-officio members of Council without a vote. Church Council delegates specific responsibilities to each of the church’s committees, which report to the Council. It has charge of all financial affairs of the church, including the responsibility for recommending an annual budget for approval by the congregation.
Members of Council are:
- Gene Armstrong, Moderator (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-657-4484
- Carl Nauert, Clerk (email@example.com), 708-771-5176
- Samantha Duwe, youth member
- Chase Gentile
- Melinda Haag
- Janet Haisman
- Carol Ingram
- Megan Lewis
- Alissa Lonergan
- Dan Pietrini
- Paul Raducha, youth member
- Sue Saliny
- Jamie Shamhart
- Priscilla Sibley
- Sallie Smylie
Deacons. Just as we are called to reach out into the world, we must also knit the body of Christ together in our own congregation.
Deacon ministries include flower delivery, Sunday greeting and ushering, providing hospitality for memorial and funeral services, meal delivery, writing notes to others with joys and concerns, providing transportation, and visiting members unable to participate in church services and activities.
Those who are interested in helping with any of those ministries can find out more on our Serving Opportunities page.
Meet the deacons:
Also serving as deacons: Leah Beckwith, Len Palombi, and Betsy Samore.