Rev. Kristie Finley
Interim Associate Pastorkfinley@firstchurchlf.org
Kristie Finley was a designer for 20 years before God’s call to ministry began in 2000. Kristie came to First Pres Lake Forest as an administrative assistant, later becoming the Director of Youth Faith Formation. Her next call began when she entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 2010 where she managed two Lilly Endowment grants in addition to her studies. Kristie missed being grounded in one church community and feels a richly Spirit-filled opportunity to come back to be in ministry with people who have been a vital part of her formation. Kristie’s husband Paul followed her to seminary, becoming Assistant Director of Real Estate Management, Princeton University. One of their children, Kienan, lives in Philadelphia, but three of them – Morgan, Colin and Brenna – reside in Illinois, giving Paul good reason to visit often.
Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick
Interim Associate Pastorchardwick@firstchurchlf.org
Chip begins his work among us in early 2018 after six years on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as Director of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism. He is grateful to return to a congregational setting again, and is adding lots of amazing experiences here to those he gained watching God at work in churches in Bloomington, IL, and Atlanta, GA. He has a Ph.D. in homiletics (preaching and worship) and an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary, a Th.M. from Emory, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern. He lives in his old stomping grounds of Evanston serving his faithful cat, Ahoy. The biggest challenge to Christ’s lordship in his life is University of Kentucky basketball.
Associate Pastor/Director of Youth and Young Adult Faith Formationskelly@firstchurchlf.org
Sean Kelly has served First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest since September 2015 in the role of College Ministry Director and Associate Youth Director. Prior to working at First Presbyterian Church, Sean worked in Youth Ministry for nine years and held positions within church, parachurch and secular organizations. Sean graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA with a Masters of Divinity in June 2015. Sean cares deeply for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff community and is humbled by the opportunity to work closer with our youth! Sean’s greatest joy comes from conversing with others as they explore their faith and understanding of Jesus Christ. He is an avid sports fan, with his favorite teams being the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks. Sean has been married to his lovely wife, Jill, for 8 years and has two beautiful daughters (Sadie- 3 years old and Brooklyn- 5 months old).
Director of Children’s Faith Formationsseccombe@firstchurchlf.org
Sarah Seccombe has been on staff at First Presbyterian Church since October 2006 in a variety of roles including Family Faith Formation Assistant and Sunday School Superintendent, coordinating events for children, youth and families. Sarah studied child development at Southeast Missouri State University, received her Bachelors of Arts in 2016 from National Louis University and looks forward to continuing her education. She is excited to take this next step and continue working with the children and families that make up our church community. Having lived in the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities for over 25 years, she now resides in Spring Grove with her father and shih tzu-poodle mix, Wrigley.
Dr. Thomas J. Tropp
Director of Music and Arts Ministryttropp@firstchurchlf.org
Tom was appointed director of Music and Arts Ministry in 2015. He is humbled by chance to take an already advanced music ministry, cultivated over many years by amazing predecessors, and prepare it for future generations. In his new role, he aims to equip our congregation to engage further in the musical aspects of worship. In addition to his responsibilities here, Tom is also the founder and managing editor of The Galant Masters Project; president of SoundByte Studios; music director of the Chicago Galant Consort; and is a faculty member in the School of Music at North Park University in Chicago. He and his wife Anne live in Lake Forest with their daughter, Kathryn (Katie).
Dr. Barry J. Wenger
Organist and Director of Handbell Choirsbwenger@firstchurchlf.org
Barry is excited to be part of the extensive and historic music ministry at First Presbyterian Church. He looks forward to his role encouraging the congregation to sing from the newly restored Casavant organ and piano. He is honored to work with the Lakeminster Ringers and the Chancel Bells as they learn and share music in worship for praise to God. Barry also has a private piano, organ, and harpsichord studio and teaches all ages from 5 to 75+, is active in the American Guild of Organists – Chicago Chapter, and plays in recital throughout the midwest and beyond. He grew up in North Dakota, lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and now resides in Edgewater with his cats Fritz and LG (Little Girl). In his free-time, you may see him speeding by on his bicycle!
Director of Children's Choirssnoble@firstchurchlf.org
Susan is a graduate of Northwestern University with degrees in music (voice performance and music education) and a certificate in music theater. While at NU she was privileged to teach voice classes and sing on tour on behalf of the School of Music. She has performed at Ravinia, Chicago Opera Theater, Light Opera Works, Drury Lane, Candlelight Playhouse and more. Susan has been directing the First Presbyterian Childrenʼs Choirs since 2008 and is an active voice teacher and soloist. She is a Lake Forest resident, proud Iowa native and even prouder mom of three.
Julia Rigoni has been the alto section leader in the Sanctuary Choir since November 2012 and this year moves into the role of music associate. In this position, her role with will expand to include some conducting and rehearsal responsibilities, and she will be coordinating music participation for first@five. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Carthage College and is a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she earned a Master of Music degree in vocal performance. She has performed in a number of operas including Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, and Puccini’s Suor Angelica.
Director of Missionskerr@firstchurchlf.org
Stewart Kerr retired as a senior executive in Illinois for Wisconsin-based Associated Trust Co., after a long banking career in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago.
He has been active with non-profits in human services and the arts throughout his career. Most recently he served as Board Chair for Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of Chicago Community Trust. He is committed to the advancement of First Pres as a missional church out in the world.
Stewart is an avid racing sailor and resides in Lake Forest with his wife Marcy. Their two children live and work in the city.
Business Operations Managerjjohnson@firstchurchlf.org
John works closely with pastors and staff to oversee operations and facilities. As a staff liaison, he supports Personnel, Finance, Stewardship, Long Range Planning & Governance, Buildings & Grounds and Endowment committees. He enjoys singing in the choir and serving as an advisor on the Senior High Work Trip. John and his wife Nancy have two children, Ted and Katie.
Director of Communicationskquilos@firstchurchlf.org
Kane is a graduate of Lake Forest College, where she got a degree in Computer Science. Working for the college’s Visual Communications department, she found her passion for design and decided she wanted to be a graphic designer. Kane was born in the Philippines, then her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child. Always wanting to explore new places, she moved to the midwest for college. She fell in love with Chicago and decided to stay after graduating. She now lives in Lincoln Park and is excited to be back in Lake Forest and working with First Pres where she used to volunteer as a college student. She loves to swim, watch movies, read thrillers and go on food adventures! Kane is responsible for all internal and external communications for First Pres, including our Sunday worship bulletins, weekly emails and monthly Faith Connections newsletter.
Donna loves the people and the gifts they bring to their respective ministries within the life of the congregation and beyond. She serves as an administrative assistant to the pastors.
Alisa is a graduate of Trinity International University with a BA in Organizational Leadership. She, along with her family, worshiped for many years at the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest and is happy to be back providing administrative support to the staff. Alisa is also a visual artist and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois. On weekends she is often covered from head to toe in gesso and acrylic paint. Alisa and her husband Addison live in Fox Lake with their two cats.
Kristina joined the First Presbyterian Preschool in 2009 as a teacher in the Odyssey classroom. Over the last nine years, she has had the opportunity to teach in most of the classes and thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a wonderful staff and program. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as a Masters of Education focused on multi-age classroom learning. Kristina is originally from Connecticut, but she has lived in Lake Bluff for the past 10 years with her husband and her two sons. She and her family have been so blessed to live in the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff community because it is really a special place for kids to grow up. When Kristina is not at the preschool, she enjoys spending her time traveling with her family and being outdoors either exercising or walking her St. Bernard, Milo.
Yehuda focuses on payroll, maintaining the general ledger, monitoring bank accounts and investments. He recently published his memoir Precious Scars, which won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
Cymbre is a graduate of Montana State University-Northern with a BA in Liberal Studies. She provides assistance to the staff by managing invoices and juggling Stewardship and Mission Committee projects. Her spare time is spent reading and collecting dictionaries. She resides in Kenosha with her husband, their calico cat, and miniature dachshund.
Cat joined First Pres in early 2018. He enjoys riding his bicycle and playing with his dogs. He also spends his free time gardening! Cat has been married to his wife for 29 years and has three children.