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.

Ministry Groups

The Session of First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette, composed of ordained Elder members elected by the Congregation, is the official governing body of our church. To further our church’s mission to “Experience God, Grow Disciples, and Transform Lives” and to support its responsibilities, the Session has established thirteen committees, as well as other groups within the church.

Each elder has a leadership role in of one of these ministry groups:

Adult Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation focuses on the “Grow Disciples” portion of the First Pres mission statement by offering a variety of faith-based adult educational programs that will engage our membership and attract interest from the community. We do this by developing and supporting programs, seminars, and other educational experiences that encourage and deepen our adult membership’s appreciation of the Bible, our Presbyterian beliefs, and our lives as Christians. Recent and ongoing activities include Sunday morning classes, study groups and dinner circles, men’s and women’s groups, retreats, and more.

Buildings & Grounds

The Buildings & Grounds Committee of Session provides oversight of all our church’s physical facilities to ensure that we can support the programs that are critical to our church mission to Experience God, Grow Disciples, and Transform Lives. In addition to maintenance and operation of all facilities, the committee is responsible for planning and executing long-term capital improvement projects. This committee works closely with the Finance, Budget, & Operations Committee, and also interfaces with staff and other committees to support worship, fellowship, education, and mission.

Children & Family Ministry

The Children & Family Ministry Committee of Session is charged with guiding the Christian formation of our youngest children, birth through 4th grade, and encouraging and equipping families as they seek to raise children as followers of Jesus. This committee supports opportunities for children and families to learn, worship, and serve together, as we engage children, parents, and other congregation members as disciples of Jesus Christ. The committee works closely with Director of Children & Family Ministry, Lindley Traynor, and with other committees on collaborative projects.

Communications

The Communications Committee of Session champions our congregation’s shared purpose to grow people of faith by participating in God’s love. We seek to deepen the connections within our congregation and with the community at large by developing and maintaining important communication systems that enhance our ability to spread the good news and build a community of disciples.

Welcome & Connection

The Welcome and Connection Committee of Session seeks to offer our church family, visitors, and those seeking a faith community a way to experience God through fellowship together. To this end, the group offers activities that provide opportunities to encourage one another, deepen relationships, and transform lives. The group supports the work of other groups with fellowship components and plans and hosts a variety of informal gatherings and all-church fellowship events.

Finance, Budget, & Operations

The Finance, Budget, & Operations Committee of Session (FBO) is charged with oversight of the financial and operational health through the faithful stewardship of our church’s financial assets including the endowment, the operating fund, and restricted funds. This committee also assumes responsibility for audit, legal affairs, insurance, information technology, and recommendations on capital expenditures. In addition, FBO is responsible for considering and projecting the long-term financial and capital needs of the congregation.

Stewardship

The Stewardship Committee of Session is focused on our church’s fourth vision statement challenge to “Embrace Generosity as an expression of spiritual growth” by engaging members and friends of the church to embrace generosity as part of their own faith journey and, in doing so, to provide the financial means for meeting our church’s mission. The committee considers, celebrates, and appreciates all the ways God makes the engaged and committed members and friends of our church into a giving people.

Membership

The Membership Committee of Session is charged with developing the membership of First Pres Wilmette by welcoming visitors, hosting classes for prospective members, integrating new members into our common life, and celebrating membership anniversaries. Guided by our mission statement to Experience God, Grow Disciples, and Transform Lives, the committee seeks to support the engagement of all our members in worship, faith formation, mission, and care. The committee works closely with Senior Pastor Jeff Lehn and staff on new member hospitality, and with several other committees on member engagement.

Mission

The Mission Committee actively engages the congregation in joining God’s work of love, justice, healing, and reconciliation in the world. As Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world which invites us to “be mission” rather than “do mission,” with the first being transformational and relational and the second being transactional. Responsibilities include directing our church’s financial contributions to mission partners and developing opportunities for church member involvement in mission activities.

Personnel Support

The Personnel Support Committee is charged with ensuring that our church’s staff and staffing structure adequately support our ministry and operational needs. This committee works with the Senior Pastor/Staff Lead and is guided by our congregation’s mission and vision statements. The committee provides oversight for annual performance reviews and any interim feedback for staff, develops and implements personnel policies, the annual personnel budget, and the hiring of non-clergy staff.

Racial Justice

The Racial Justice Committee is committed to thoroughly, intentionally, and continuously leading First Pres Wilmette and surrounding communities to root out and dismantle the evils of racism and white supremacy embedded in our social structures. Further, it aspires to have our church and surrounding communities become models for inclusive, anti-racist, and multicultural places of worship and living. Nothing is more central to Christian beliefs than the sharing of Christ’s love among all people regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. Love, in turn, seeks justice for all of God’s children.

Worship, Music & the Arts

The Worship, Music & the Arts (WMA) Committee of Session has a major impact on how our congregation experiences God by supporting and enhancing the worship life of our church, the heart of our life together. This committee is responsible for ushers, liturgists, communion service, adornment of the worship space during liturgical seasons, and assistance with special services to engage the congregation. The WMA Committee works closely with Director of Music & Worship Peggy Massello and with other committees as needed.

Youth & Family Ministry

The Youth & Family Ministry Committee of Session is charged with creating opportunities for the youth of our congregation, 5th grade through high school, to grow in discipleship by facilitating worship, Christian education, mission, and fellowship activities. We accomplish this by working closely with our Pastors and staff to provide Christian education and community on a weekly basis, meaningful mission experiences, and guidance for our youth along their faith journeys.

Current Elders

Clerk of Session: Sharon Panzica

Class of 2024: Steve Reinhart, Brian Hughes, Guyneth Sharp

Class of 2025: Rick Drake, Anne Menard, Linnea Jacobs, Matt Ritchie

Class of 2026: Sal Karottki, Amy McJoynt, Stephanie Phelan, Mary Watt

Youth Elder for 2023-24: Campbell Boaz

Board of Deacons

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.”

Wendy Lundgren, Moderator

Class of 2024: Amy Miller, Julie Forgarty,  Wendy Lundgren, Mercy Ndung’u

Class of 2025: Jane Brumitt, Delane Haro, Craig Hutson, Laura Sandee, Nan Scott

Class of 2026: Grainne Bailey, Bob Brown, Greg Korak, Jim Weyrens, Marny Zimmer

Youth Deacon for 2023-24: Addy Lundgren

Each Deacon serves on the Board for three 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.
  • Bringing Flowers: Deacons deliver flowers from the Sunday worship services to those who are ill, recovering from surgery, or grieving.  We also bring blooming plants to our Care Partners several times a year.
  • 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.

If you or someone you know is in need of care or assistance through a meal, flowers, transportation, or a visit from a Christian friend, please contact our pastoral staff through the church office at 847-256-3010 or by email to the First Pres Wilmette office.