Lead Pastor: The Rev. Dr. Katherine Thomas Paisley
Pastor Katherine grew up in a series of parsonages in the Northern Illinois Conference, attending schools from Mt Carroll to Elgin. She attend Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa and met her husband Randy in Dixon where her father was assigned as senior pastor after she graduated from high school. Rev. Lowell Allen hired Randy as a part-time youth minister while Randy was in college, Katherine came along to help and they fell in love in the middle of 60 some youth -- but that's another story. She transferred to Rockford College when they married after her sophomore year. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a handful of minor areas and then quickly had their first two children, Margaret Anne (Meg) and Carol Louise.
They moved from Rockford to Oglesby and then to Dixon before Katherine's call to the ministry became too compelling to continue to resist. (Her resistance was due to actually knowing some of the challenges of the ministry, and how challenging it is for family life, not resistance to God -- but that's another story.) They moved to Nashville for her to attend Vanderbilt University where she completed a Master of Divinity degree, a Master of Arts in homiletics (preaching) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in homiletics with a minor in church history. In the middle of the Ph.D., she took four years off of serving churches and the doctoral program to have their youngest child, Donny. She says that some people manage to have children in nine months, but it takes her four years (and you guessed it -- that's another story!)
They returned to Illinois in 2008 to be closer to Randy's parents and their daughter Carol, who lives with her husband Adrian and now three children in West Dundee, IL where she is the pastor of the community's United Methodist Church. Katherine (Katie) is eight, and she has twins who will be five in May, Deuce (Adrian, Jr.) and Carrie (Caroline). Their older daughter, Meg, lives in Athens, TN with her two children, Paisley and Elijah. This necessitates occasional trips to Tennessee! Donny, Katherine and Randy's youngest child, is a freshman at Wilbur Wright College and lives at home for the time being.
Katherine loves music and drama, appreciates art, loves to preach and lead Bible study, and gets excited when children and youth are growing in their faith enough to ask questions and share ideas. She also loves storytelling, and her favorites are from the Bible, stories of church life, and her family. She also is an advocate for social justice and people made vulnerable by our lack of a social safety net.
For more details and other stories, meet her for coffee/tea.
Church Program Minister: Hope Chernich
Hope Reyes is the Director of Children & Family Ministries and is focused on developing a children’s ministry that nurtures, engages and teaches. She has a passion for excellence and sharing God’s word with young Christians and their families. She grew up in Northeast Ohio, where she came to Christ and felt called to ministry. After recieving a degree in psychology with a minor in Bible from North Central University in Minneapolis, Hope continued her education earning a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio. She has served as minister of small group ministries, consulted with churches in transition and conflict and worked with lay leaders to develop strategic youth ministry. Hope is now leading our congregation through a discernment process to determine ministry goals and pathways for the future. Hope has two children, Gabriel and Olivia.
Minister of Music & Worship Arts: Jonathan Braun
Jonathan Braun teaches music with the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools, including at St. Viator Catholic School in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. He graduated from DePaul University’s School of Music in Music Education. A student in Aglika Angelova’s piano studio, Jonathan is also a member of the Wicker Park Chorus. Jonathan is a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and an alumnus of the Merit School of Music. He has been involved with liturgical music for many years, serving as an accompanist and worship leader at St. Daniel the Prophet Church and Holy Family Church, both in Chicago.
In his free time, Jonathan is an avid concert goer. He loves the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera. Jonathan also loves to play golf and explore the city with his friends. When he’s not living on DePaul’s campus during the school year, he stays with his parents, Christine and Steven, and his younger sisters who are twins, Jacquelyn and Jillian.
Church Administrator and Financial Secretary: Tracy Brown
Tracy Brown grew up at Irving Park United Methodist Church, and has been involved in its ministries off and on all of her life. She agreed to take over many of the financial responsibilities of the church as Financial Secretary in 2015, and has now taken over the Church Administrator's role as well. She has four children: Noah, Ethan, Cassidy and TJ (Theodore), so she is used to juggling demands and responsibilities. Tracy's areas of responsibility include managing communication, coordinating building use, ordering materials, tracking giving records, paying bills, managing our cash flow, and many other duties as needed.