Our staff is here for you. Anyone with a pastoral concern should feel free to contact one of our pastors.
NOTE: 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:
Mondays: Sing-along with Bill Chin, 12:30 p.m. on the First United YouTube channel.
Tuesdays: Weekly Evotional.
Wednesdays: Sacred story time, available on the First United YouTube channel.
Thursdays: Virtual “coffice” hours (coffee-office) with one of the pastors from 12:30-1:30 p.m. You can join others in our community by clicking on this link a minute or two before 12:30. Plan to sign on with a cup of coffee or tea or other favorite beverage, and everyone can share with one another about what is going on in our lives.
Fridays: Congregant content; stay tuned!
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays: Virtual Lenten Prayer Station visits, 3-3:30 p.m. on the First United YouTube channel.
Sundays: Live-streamed worship at 11 a.m. on the First United YouTube channel.
Send prayer requests via email: Anyone wishing to send a prayer request to staff, to be included in the weekly time of Joys and Concerns, can send in a prayer request in advance of Sunday’s live-streamed worship service to email@example.com.
Need assistance? Church members are available to run errands for those unable to leave their homes. Contact Alicia Reese.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com 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 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 with Ivy, her partner. They will likely be gathered around a table of friends, eating good food, telling stories, and playing board games.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com 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.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com 708-386-5215 (ext. 100)
Dennis has many years of service in the Presbyterian Church (USA), having held various positions in the denomination from local congregations to the national offices. He received his master of divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary and also holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. In addition to his service in the church, he has worked in the secular world in the areas of communication, editing, and social media evaluation. The opportunity to work with a congregation that is welcoming to all and involved in social justice issues drew him to First United. Dennis moved to this area in the spring of 2016 with his husband, who is the pastor of Riverside Presbyterian Church.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com 708-386-5215 (ext. 109)
Suzi comes to First United as a part-time Financial Assistant with expertise in general church administration, and works with Maureen Wheeler on the church financials and database. When not at First United, she’s the Business Administrator at another church in the western suburbs (or she may be out biking or hanging out with her kids). Suzi desires to help churches use current technologies and trends so that they can be even more effective at their kingdom-building efforts.
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.