Our staff is here for you. Anyone with a pastoral concern should feel free to contact one of our pastors.
During this time of self-isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, First United is offering online fellowship and events through YouTube, Facebook, and Zoom. Here’s how to join in the life of the church:
Second and fourth Mondays: Prayer Shawl Ministry via Zoom, 10 a.m. at this link.
Sundays: Streamed worship at 11 a.m. on the First United YouTube channel.
Sundays: Deacon-led prayer availability via Zoom, 10 minutes after worship at this link.
Send prayer requests via email: Anyone can send a prayer request in advance of Sunday’s streamed worship service to [email protected].
Need assistance or a mask? Church members are available to run errands for those unable to leave their homes and to sew masks for those who need one. Contact Alicia Reese.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 101)
John began his ministry at First United in 2019 after serving churches in Boston and Minnesota. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, John also holds standing in the Presbyterian Church (USA). As part of his service to the wider church, John is a writer for the UCC’s Daily Devotional, distributed nationwide. Much of John’s focus in ministry has been on the way Christians live their faith outside the walls of the church. That passion matches First United’s focus on social justice and mission. John loves all things food-related and spends much of his free time planning menus and cooking for his wife, Heather, and their daughter, Veronica.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 103)
Lydia began at First United in 2016 after serving United Church of Christ congregations in California. She received her master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion and has a passion for creating safe and healthy environments where people of all ages, members of the LGBTQ community, and all those on the margins can learn the sacred stories that bind us together, find a sense of identity within those stories, and gather courage to write the next chapter. She loves to make music and has worked in church music and in music education. In her time off, you’ll find her gathered around a table of friends, eating good food, telling stories, and playing board games.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 104)
Alicia was born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and attended First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights. She received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and her master of divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She was nurtured by her home church and her wonderful experiences in youth group, which are what eventually led Alicia to discern her call to ministry in seminary. Alicia is passionate about working with youth and interfaith engagement. She is in the process of being ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is excited to be serving such a vibrant community of believers in the hope that you all will allow her to know your stories and accompany you on this journey of faith.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 108)
William Chin has a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Bill is the Assistant Director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and is the founder and artistic director of the Oriana Singers, a six-voice a cappella group that tours nationally and internationally and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. He is Music Director of the Oak Park and River Forest Children’s Chorus, with whom he has recorded two CDs for GIA Publications. In addition, Bill directs the Symphony Chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest and is the conductor of the Anshe Emet Synagogue Choir in Chicago. Bill has been the Director of Music Ministries at First United Church of Oak Park since 2000.
A native of North Carolina and a church organist since the age of 12, Michael Surratt holds a bachelor of music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a master of music degree from Northwestern University in organ performance. He also has done work toward earning a doctorate in organ at Northwestern and a master of divinity degree at Chicago Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as First United’s organist, Michael directs the handbell choir, which performs several times a year with the church’s five octaves of Malmark handbells.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 102)
Although Amanda’s academic background reads journalism, her recent professional interests all have been with the church. Since 2010, she has cheerfully served church offices in Oswego, Illinois, and now First United for four years. Outside of church office hours, you can find Amanda working on her small business in vintage glassware and china rental or planning her next great international travel adventure. She was particularly drawn to First United for its strong stances on social justice as well as global mission interests.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 106)
Maureen is a CPA with her own consulting practice that specializes in accounting services for nonprofit organizations. Before starting her own practice, she worked as an auditor specializing in the nonprofit industry and also worked in the Accounting Department at the Alzheimer’s Association national office in Chicago. Maureen has lived in the area her whole life. She grew up in River Forest and now resides in Elmwood Park with her husband, Jamie Wheeler, and three young sons, Patrick, Daniel, and Edward.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 109)
Shirley joined First United as a part-time Financial Administrator in July of 2020. She has a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and an MBA with Accounting and Finance from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She has spent the past 10 years working in accounting and business administration for nonprofit organizations. When not at First United, she is the Business Manager for another church in the Austin area of Chicago. She also serves at that church as a facilitator for Discipleship Class and New Member Class. In her time off, she enjoys family time, which usually involves food, music, and lots of laughter. She lives in Oak Park with her husband, Cliff.
[email protected] 708-386-5215 (ext. 100)
Heather is a “recovering” lawyer who found her way to the world of church communications as a second career after working in construction law at a large Chicago law firm. These days, she splits her time serving both First United and an ELCA Lutheran church in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. When she isn’t crafting bulletins, newsletters, and social media posts, you can usually find Heather watching her boys play baseball, reading on her front porch, or making a giant mess in the kitchen. Heather lives in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Jamie, and their two boys.
Keith has been with First United since 2013 and has assumed numerous building maintenance responsibilities while also working a full-time day job. DIY and maintenance comes naturally to Keith — if he comes across an unfamiliar task, he will read and watch instructional videos to learn. You’ll usually find Keith at First United from 4:30 until close of the building, though his responsibilities include weekends, early hours and after hours when necessary. Keith is dedicated to maintaining the church along with the other custodial staff members, Julian Klytta and Jesus Santiago. He works closely with Building and Grounds to ensure all areas of concerns are addressed. Keith, his wife, and two children live in Berwyn and enjoy family trips to Six Flags throughout the summertime.