The word presbyterian comes from the Greek word for elder. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a representational form of government. At the local level, each church elects elders who serve on a body called the session. There are two officers of session: the moderator who is an ordained pastor, and the clerk, who keeps all the records. At First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette, there are 18 elders, six of whom are elected each year for a three-year term. In addition, there is one elder under 25 years of age, who is elected for a one year term.

The elders provide oversight of membership rolls and records, provide for worship and sacraments, education, pastoral care, stewardship, mission, fellowship, budget, property management and participate in the governance of the church through higher governing bodies of the PC(USA). Session authorizes baptisms, the reception of new members, transfers of membership and membership deletions, the serving of Communion and internal policies.

Each elder serves as chair or as a member of one of these ministry groups (for details about what each committee’s tasks entail, read here):

  • Children & Family Ministries
  • Youth & Family Ministries
  • Strategic Planning
  • Adult Faith Formation & Fellowship
  • Finance, Budget, & Operations
  • Building & Grounds
  • Giving Ministries
  • Membership
  • Mission
  • Personnel Support
  • Worship, Music, & the Arts
  • Communications
  • Inclusivity Team (an ad hoc committee)

Current Elders:

Clerk of Session: *NEW Clerk is Carol Korak

Class of 2019 : Julie Bender, David Bennett, Nadav Klein,  Steve Reinhart, and Craig Wible

Class of 2020:  Bob Bobesink, Chris Dekker, Jeff Miller, and Jane Rankin

Class of 2021: Jim Lyman, Brian Hughes, Bill Bishop, Betsy Crosswhite, Stephanie Phelan, and Jeremy D’Angelo, youth elder for one year


Sharon Panzica Moderator

The office of Deacon, as set forth in scripture, is one of compassion, witness, and service after the example of Jesus Christ. The duties of the Deacons at First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette are to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress both within and beyond our community of faith. We try to “be the heart and hands of Christ.”

Class of 2019:  Jana Jones, Greg Korak, Emily Klein, and  Lindley Traynor

Class of 2020: Debby and Doug Ackerman (shared),  Kara Hughes, Wendy Lundgren, and Sharon Panzica

Class of 2021: Bill Walter, Ann Boyle, Julie Forgarty, Amy Miller, and Tyler Ackerman for one year as youth deacon

Each Deacon serves on the Board for 3 years, attending monthly meetings and providing care through the following activities:

  • Visiting the Homebound: Deacons are assigned “Care Partners” with whom they maintain regular contact (visits, cards and phone calls). This important ministry allows us to receive the wisdom and be aware of the concerns and joys of our members who can no longer attend church.
  • Providing Meals for Life Events: Deacons offer meals and other assistance to people whose lives are complicated by illness, a new baby, a move or other milestones.
  • Providing Transportation: Deacons provide rides to those in need of transportation to church and doctor visits, and can help with errands from time to time.
  • Bringing Flowers: Deacons deliver flowers from the Sunday worship service every week to those who are ill, recovering from surgery or grieving.  We also bring blooming plants to our Care Partners several times a year.
  • Welcoming New Members  Fellowship: Deacons work with the New Member Committee to host gatherings of church officers, their spouses and new members several times a year at members’ homes.
  • Celebrating Christmas with Cookies: Deacons organize volunteers to bake Christmas cookies and package them in tins for delivery to our Care Partners, new members, and families with new babies and church staff.

If you or someone you know is in need of care or assistance through a meal, flowers, transportation or just a visit from a Christian friend, please contact the Deacon Moderator or the Director of Congregational Care through the church office at 847-256-3010 or via e-mail at the fpcw office. If you would like to help us occasionally by providing transportation or meals, please let us know!

Presbyterians choose, through nominations and elections, those who will guide the local congregation. A nominating committee presents a slate of officers for election to the congregation at the annual meeting held in the spring. A new nominating committee is also elected at the annual meeting. It’s an exciting time as we search for a variety of individuals with gifts and talents to share.

The Nominating Committee seeks a balance of men and women, newer members and longer-term members, younger members and older members. All members are eligible — the only requirement is a willing heart, growing in faith. Members are encouraged to offer up to the Nominating Committee the names of those whom they feel God has gifted to serve as a church officer, in the role of Elder, Deacon, or Nominating Committee member.

Nominating Committee for January 2018: Julie Bender, Elder Chair, Bill Sharp, Mark SooHoo, Ellen Brown, Cynthia Milne, and Carolyn Jevelian