Key to our strength is our staff, a dedicated group of six individuals who provide inspiration, leadership and excellent functioning for church activities.

Rev. Steve Van Kuiken, Senior Minister

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

Before coming to Lake Street Church, Steve served churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Arizona.  In 2002, while serving as Senior Minister of the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, Pastor Van Kuiken became the first Presbyterian minister to be put on trial in church courts for performing marriages for same-sex couples.  Steve was removed from office and lost his position with that church.  He fought and won his appeal and was eventually reinstated as a Presbyterian minister.  Steve then left that denomination and joined the United Church of Christ where he continues to have standing as a minister.

 

In addition to his work for LGBTQ equality, Steve has also been involved with worker rights, economic justice, immigration, affordable housing, mysticism, meditation and interspirituality.  He has taught bioethics, cofounded a religion-labor organization, and has done social work at a halfway house for federal inmates. He is married and is the father of three children, ages 27, 24 and 3.

Diana Schmück, Music Director & Organist

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

Fundamental to the richness of shared experience of our community is the music provided, led and coordinated by Diana Schmück.  Participation in youth and adult choirs, along with keyboard contributions, were part of her musical and personal development.  As an adult she took part in worship in churches and mentored young church musicians in her positions at Febias College in Manila, Philippines and at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana.Heralded by the Chicago Sun-times as “one of the finest chamber pianists on the scene…playing with her ears as much as her gifted hands,” Schmück has appeared in concert throughout the United States and Canada, in Europe and as the Philippines.  Diana is a founding member of the Orion Ensemble, a highly praised chamber group.  She is a doctoral graduate of Northwestern University and holds degrees from DePaul University and Wheaton College.

 

Diana is kept busy leading Lake Street Church’s Chancel Choir, which provides the backbone of music for our Sunday worship services, the Concert Choir, and the Men’s Choir.  In addition, she performs as the church organist and pianist.   We’re blessed by her talent and leadership.

Chris Roe, Director of Children and Family Programs

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

With his energy, enthusiasm and imagination, Chris is a natural in his leadership role of children’s programs. He is a Michigan native and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 2009.  Currently he is in his final year of a Masters of Divinity program at Garrett Seminary and Bexley-Seabury Seminary.

 

Prior to coming to the Chicago area two years ago, he taught kindergarten and first grade reading in the Grand Rapids region and worked in a variety of areas with second through fourth graders.

 

Musically talented, particularly on organ and piano, Chris served for the past two years as director of music at St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church in Glencoe.

Chris Ellicott, Church Administrator

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.
Each Sunday Chris Ellicott welcomes everyone into our sanctuary with a smile. She also has the key role of church Administrator, a title hardly descriptive of the complex, diverse and detailed role Chris performs each week. As Chris puts it: “Pat and I do everything that needs to be done that doesn’t involve preaching, praying, kids or music,” and that is an under-statement!  And she has been doing it since 2001 with a lot of heart.
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When she’s not working the numbers, juggling priorities, wrestling alligators or scheduling use of the many rooms in our “house,” you might find her volunteering at the Chicago Botanic Gardens or practicing and instructing with the Taoist Tai Chi Society.

Pat Stringer, Administrative Assistant

Pat Stringer

There are many of us here with a long-time bond to Lake Street Church.  For Pat, Lake Street Church has been a home for decades.  Her parents helped to build the foundation of LSC where Pat attended Sunday School, joined the choir at the age of 15, and served on the General Board for 14 years.

 

In 2008 Pat joined our staff as the Administrative Assistant.  Among the great variety of things that Pat does are greeting visitors, tracking the comings and goings of the many groups and organizations that use our facilities, fielding requests that flood the office, handling the weekly bulletin and coordinating other church communications, firing up the sound system and turning pages for the organist or pianist during those challenging pieces.

 

Pat relaxes by gardening and a lot of reading. The granddaughter of a military man, her favorite subject is World War II history.

Kim Jefferson, Sexton

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

Every organization is critically dependent on the men and women who work quietly behind the scenes to keep the moving parts oiled and in good working order.  Kim Jefferson does that job for us at Lake Street Church.

 

Have you ever held an event and arrived to see the chairs are placed in straight and even rows and the tables are set up in just the right spot?  Have you entered the Sanctuary and noticed the rugs are freshly vacuumed and everything in order?  How about walking on freshly mopped floors in the Community Center and into a clean restroom?

 

These are some of the things that Kim does for us in his quiet way, and it’s great that he is the one who is doing them for us.  Next time you see him, just say hello and thank you.

Rev. Robert V. Thompson, Minister Emeritus

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Bob Thompson graduated from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Graduate Theological Union) and was ordained an American Baptist Minister in 1973. He served American Baptist Churches in Kansas, Ohio and  then as Senior Minister of the Lake Street Church in Evanston, Illinois for 30 years. He retired in November of 2010. During the 1980’s he became an activist pastor focusing on issues such as homelessness, racial reconciliation and advocacy for LGBT rights. In the 1990’s he became disillusioned with the spiritual constraints of mainstream American Protestantism and embarked on an exploration of several Eastern spiritual traditions and the Christian mystics. He came to understand his activism not as an expression of religious ideology but rather a manifestation of unitive consciousness. This vision led him to embark on a course of interfaith engagement while serving Lake Street Church. From 1999 – 2004 he also assumed the role of Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. In 2010 he was recognized as Chair Emeritus of PWR.

 

Over the years he has contributed articles to periodicals including The Christian Century, The Chicago Tribune (op-ed), Sound Vision (a Muslim outlet) and others. He is the author of A Voluptuous God: A Christian Heretic Speaks (CopperHouse, 2007), and a contributor to the book for preachers, Feasting on the Word (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011).

 

In March of 2011 he and his wife Judy Langford moved to Atlanta, Georgia.