Rev. Clinton Roberts
Clint Roberts trusts in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. His faith journey started early mentored by his father and father-in-law who were both Presbyterian ministers. Clint has served as co-pastor at Marion Presbyterian Church in Marion, Kansas; as head of staff at First Presbyterian Church in Crown Point, Indiana and as co-pastor, head of staff at Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. His strengths include pastoral care, teaching, preaching, collaboration and strategic thinking. He enjoys sailing and cycling, loves classical music and cooking, is a student of history and takes a solitary retreat to the desert wilderness annually for his own spiritual nourishment. Clint and his wife, Deb are parents of Evan and his wife Ashleigh and Chandler and her husband Keith and grandparents to Ava, Grayce Mae and Pierce. Being a sailor, Clint believes that “the Church finds its moral compass and missional chart through the witness and authority of Scripture. Commissioned and provisioned by Word and Sacrament, the Church will not flounder on this sacred journey until Christ has become all in all.”
Rev. Kristie Finley
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.
Originally from California, Debbie has lived in Deerfield for the past 27 years, with her husband Jim, their twin sons, Matthew and Anthony and dog, Sophie.
Debbie enjoyed traveling to all her sons’ sports activities through high school and college, but with their recent graduation she decided to return to full-time work. Debbie’s most recent part-time positions were at Highland Park Presbyterian church and tutoring at the College of Lake County. She is so thankful that this employment opportunity at First Presbyterian was offered and is looking forward to working with the staff and church members.
When she isn’t traveling to Iowa to see Anthony or Texas to see Matthew, she enjoys reading, quilting and spending time with friends.
Jim Cochrane is excited to contribute to the rich legacy of First Presbyterian Church’s dedication to growing the faith of young people. Before discerning God’s call for him to enter ministry, Jim studied math and economics at Luther College in Decorah, IA. In the years following, he has served churches in Iowa City, IA and Minneapolis, MN in addition to time he has spent at Christian summer camps. Jim is currently studying for his Masters of Divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary in Hyde Park where he enjoys examining how our ancient faith calls us in every age to serve and act to create God’s beloved community.
Jim is an avid runner and swimmer, and he lives in Vernon Hills with his wife, Becca, and their goldendoodle, Tucker.
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.
This is Suzie’s first year at First Presbyterian Preschool. She has been a part of the field of early childhood for the past 25 years as both a Preschool and Kindergarten teacher. Her entire career was spent at the Gertrude B. Nielsen Child Care and Learning Center in Northbrook, IL. She became the coordinator of both programs 8 years ago. Working with staff, families and children has been so fulfilling and something she is incredibly proud of. She feels honored to become a part of The First Presbyterian Preschool. Its reputation and long standing history in the community she grew up in makes her proud to join its staff and to work with its dedicated teachers and supportive families during the upcoming school year. When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her family, has a knack for woodworking and is a volunteer for CASA of Lake County.
Stewart Kerr retired as the 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.
Dr. Thomas J. Tropp
Dr. Tom Tropp is a conductor, musicologist, lecturer, and piano technician. He has served at First Presbyterian Church since 2006 and is also a faculty member in the School of Music, Art, and Theater at North Park University in Chicago and at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston.
Dr. Tropp’s research specialization is the music of the eighteenth-century Neapolitan Galant style. He is the founder and managing editor of The Galant Masters Project, an editorial venture intended to rediscover lost works of Galant-style sacred music by producing critical performing editions and recordings of previously unpublished manuscripts. The Sanctuary Choir has enjoyed premiering several of these editions over the years.
Tom Tropp holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, the Master of Music degree in conducting and historical musicology from The University of Arizona, and the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where his dissertation, Cantaten in Musik gesetzt von W.A. Mozart: The Contrafacta Cantatas, K.Anh. 124–130, was the 2014 recipient of the American Choral Directors Association’s Julius Herford Dissertation Prize.
Dr. Tropp resides in Lake Forest, Illinois, with his wife Anne and daughter Katie.
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.
Dr. Barry J. Wenger
Barry is excited to be part of the extensive and historic music ministry at First Presbyterian Church. He enjoys his role encouraging the congregation to sing from the beautiful 1973 Casavant pipe organ and the 1882 Steinway grand piano. Dr. Wenger is honored to conduct the Lakeminster Ringers, now in their fourth decade of ringing, and the Chancel Bell Choir as they both learn and share music in worship for praise and lament to God. In June of 2018, he toured with the Lakeminster Ringers and he presented organ recitals in The Netherlands with a personal highlight performing on the 1738 Müller Organ at the famed St. Bavo Church in Haarlem.
Dr. Wenger is also a lecturer in music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Waukesha Campus, where he directs the Concert Choir and teaches Class Piano. Barry is a long-time member of the American Guild of Organists, North Shore and Chicago Chapters, previously the Kansas City Chapter, and a founding member of the Northern Valley Chapter in North Dakota. He is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America. During this changed time, Dr. Wenger has been presenting weekly virtual Sunday evening recitals since March of 2020.
Jan joined the staff of First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest in November of 2018. Her experience derives from working over 25 years in operational management and office administration within her family’s 107-year-old manufacturing company and, most recently, at a retail marketing design firm in downtown Chicago. Jan’s strong faith and dedication to volunteerism has fostered a lifelong passion and respect for non-profit organizations. She is excited to be given the opportunity to combine her professional and volunteer experience to serve this congregation. Jan resides in Burr Ridge and enjoys walking, woodworking, reading and spending time with her two sons, Ryan and Brendan.
Kane Q. Kowalik
Kane is a graduate of Lake Forest College where she developed her interest for communication and design. Kane's family moved from the Philippines to Los Angeles when she was a child, and always wanting to explore new places, she eventually moved to the midwest for college. She fell in love with Chicago and decided to stay. She now lives in Lincoln Park with her husband Patryk, 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 website, social media, weekly emails, and monthly Faith Connections newsletter.
Patrick has been married for 21 years and has two children in college. He has completed an MBA from University of Phoenix and has completed graduate work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He also has a Bachelor degree in Accounting from Western Michigan University. In his spare time he enjoys doing home improvement projects around the house.
Dina has 11 years of administrator and communications experience in the Presbyterian church. She and her husband, John, enjoy boating and walking. Dina and John have two adult children, Caroline and Charlie.
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.
Guillermo has been married for 17 years, and have 2 girls, and 2 Shih Tzu dogs. He enjoys cooking, and spending time with his family and dogs in different activities. God saved his life from cancer, and now he is glad to serve in First Presbyterian Church.