Jon is a native of Washington State with years of experience in large churches across the U.S. After studying religion at a small liberal arts college in Ohio, he made his way to Texas to serve as a youth director at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Following nearly six years in Dallas, Jon attended Princeton Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity and M.A. in Christian Education. For eight years, Jon served as Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX.
Jon is married to Abby, and they have two sons, Thomas and Eliot. Jon is an avid trail runner, cyclist, outdoor enthusiast, newsletter subscriber, and devoted Arsenal fan.
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.
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 at a retail marketing design firm downtown. Jan’s fervent belief and participation in volunteerism has allowed her to acquire a passion for non-profits throughout her life. This opportunity at First Pres motivates her because she is allowed to combine her professional and volunteer experience to serve this congregation. Jan currently resides in Chicago and enjoys exploring the many neighborhoods in the city, long walks, woodworking, reading, and spending time with family.
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 son and daughter live in Boston and Chicago respectively.
Kane joined the First Pres staff in 2017. She is a graduate of Lake Forest College where she developed her interest for communication and design and volunteered with First Pres for the annual rummage sales! Kane moved to the midwest for college, fell in love with Chicago, and decided to stay. She now lives in Lincoln Park with her husband Patryk and daughter Katerina. She loves to watch movies, read thrillers, and cook! Kane is responsible for all internal and external communications for First Pres, including our website, social media, and weekly emails.
Anne grew up in Lake Forest and became a member of First Presbyterian church when she was confirmed in 1983. She and her husband Dewey were married at First Pres and they baptized four of their five children here as well. Anne has a B.A. from Indiana University and a Masters in Education from DePaul University. After teaching first grade for three years, Anne chose to “work inside the home” with their growing family. When her kids were young, Anne taught Sunday School and supported the kids on their faith journeys through Confirmation and Youth Group, and she joined them as an advisor on seven Work trips. Anne has served as an Elder and on the YYAFF Committee for two years and she is eager to continue her focus on the youth of our church in this new role. The Youth Pastors have created such a positive, and loving faith experience for our children. Anne will support the youth and our programs through this time of transition to new leadership. She can’t wait to be around the positive energy and enthusiasm that our youth and young adults bring to everything they do.
Suzie 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.
Dr. Robert McConnell has built a dynamic career as a conductor, organist, and composer. He has conducted performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Calyx Vocal Ensemble, the St. John Passion with the Oregon Bach Festival, and has appeared as a guest conductor with the Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhoods Program, Door County’s Peninsula Music Festival, the DePaul School of Music Opera Theater, and the Northwestern Opera Theater. As an organist, Robert has performed with the Grant Park Music Festival, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, and the Bach Week Festival Orchestra. As a sacred musician, Robert has served as Music Director of St. John’s Lutheran Church of Wilmette, Associate Organist at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, and currently serves as the High Holy Days Conductor and Organist at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park. He is a graduate of Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music where he studied conducting with Victor Yampolsky, composition with Augusta Read Thomas, and organ with Margaret Kemper.
Jack Reeder is a conductor and tenor in the Chicagoland area. As a sacred musician, Jack currently serves as the Choral Conductor in Residence at Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park, and has held previous positions with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Northbrook, Glencoe Union Church, and St. Patrick Catholic Church in Urbana. He has conducted performances and prepared choirs in collaboration with Northwestern Opera Theater, Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, and Northwestern Camerata. Equally at home on the podium or behind a music stand, he sings with the three-time GRAMMY winning ensemble The Crossing, Constellation Men’s Ensemble, Stare at the Sun choir, Roots in the Sky choir, and the Calyx Vocal Ensemble. Collaborations with these organizations have led him to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Jack is working towards the Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting at Northwestern University, where he studies conducting with Donald Nally and voice with Kurt Hansen. In addition to his musical activities and interests, Reeder is an avid runner, sourdough baker, and fan of all Cincinnati sports.
Susan Noble is delighted to be at First Pres. She has been Director of Children’s Music for 14 years, is trained as a classroom music teacher, choir director and classical singer. “My favorite events at church have been the annual church musical and the pageant; I love the process of preparing the children for leading worship, and the big day is so exciting. Watching scripture come alive is faith-building for all of us. I look forward to seeing everyone each week at Sunday School and at summer Vacation Bible School, and I can’t wait to plan more special events.” Mrs. Noble is a Lake Forest resident with children at DPM and LFHS and is a proud Iowa City native. She has two degrees from Northwestern University and loves cooking, travel and the performing arts. Stop by and say hello!
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.
Karla Finley has recently joined First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest as Executive Assistant to Senior Pastor Jon Wasson. Karla brings 20 years’ experience in higher education administration to the role, having worked for the past 12 years at Lake Forest College in faculty support and more recently as executive assistant to the Vice President for Advancement. Prior to work at the College, Karla was Director of Development Special Events at Northwestern University, where she managed the University president’s entertaining along with all hosted fundraising events. Karla has served as a Deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield, where she has been an active member for the past 27 years, and was chair of Deerfield’s Christian Beginnings preschool council. Having spent most of her childhood in Lake Forest, Karla returned to the community in 2005 with her husband Gary and two daughters. Karla is thrilled to have been welcomed back to the Church where she was confirmed in 8th grade and participated during high school as a Sunday School kindergarten teaching assistant.
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.