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

The Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf (he/him) holds a Doctor of Theology (ThD) degree from Harvard Divinity School. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville with a BA in Religious Studies in 2011 and completed his Master of Divinity degree at Harvard Divinity School in 2014. Michael is also an ordained American Baptist Churches USA and Alliance of Baptists pastor whose career has focused on social justice and interfaith dialogue. Born and raised in Alabama, prior to coming to Lake Street Church of Evanston in 2019, he served congregations in Massachusetts for five years.

Michael’s dissertation, “Sanctuary and Subjectivity: Rethinking Practical Theological Categories in Light of the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s,” situates the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s as an object of practical theological inquiry. In paying attention to the narratives of recipients of sanctuary, Michael proposes a reorientation of the discipline using Judith Butler’s theory of subjectivation.

 

 

He currently teaches American Baptist theology, polity, and history for the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago and has served on subcommittees addressing racial justice and white supremacy in both the Alliance of Baptists and the American Baptist Churches USA. He has also written for several popular publications, including Sojourners and The Christian Citizen and is a contributor to Journeys, a lectionary commentary and adult Bible study published by Judson Press.

 

You can follow him on Twitter at @RevMichaelWoolf for his latest work.

 

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

Jillian Westerfield is the Associate Minister and leads Children’s & Family Programming at Lake Street Church. Jillian believes that all people are equally spiritually-abled, regardless of age, education, intellect, or any other factor. Based on this, Jillian’s goal for children’s programming is to nurture the children’s confidence in themselves as spiritual beings with valid experiences and to offer them tools for growing their individual  and communal relationships with the Divine.

 

Before joining the staff at Lake Street, Jillian worked with a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational opportunities for children living in poverty during their first five years of life. Her past experience also includes serving as a Vietnamese interpreter in the Navy and working in systems improvement in both manufacturing and nonprofit settings. Her favorite job before she went into ministry was managing a comic book store, though.

 

Jillian has a degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX and is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity at Chicago Theological Seminary in Hyde Park. She and her wife live in Chicago with their fabulous daughter, two cats, and a dog. Jillian’s hobbies are house plants, fiber arts, and ukulele.

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 in 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.

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

Amber Naylor uses the magic of theater and power of storytelling to spark social change and personal growth. She is the Associate Pastor for Youth Programming at Lake Street Church. Amber has a Masters of Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Amber is also Executive Director of the nonprofit Acting Out Awareness, which uses theater to address stigmatized social issues.

 

In addition to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, she has stage and production management experience from First Stage (Washington DC), Nebraska Shakespeare, Belvoir Terrace (Massachusetts), and Santa Fe Opera (New Mexico). She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and received her undergraduate degrees in theater production at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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.

Scott Jackson headshot

This is Scott Jackson’s second time working at Lake Street Church. He did maintenance work for us in the 1990’s before working at Lutheran Social Services as a Facilities Director for many years. We are very fortunate to have his knowledge of general maintenance and our building specifically. He has promised to lovingly care for our church home. His duties include being available for emergency calls and working closely with Kim Jefferson and the House Committee.

 

Scott is a long-time Evanstonian, having started his life at Evanston Hospital. He is a family man with four children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. He is a man of faith and has attended First Church of God in Evanston for many years. He has a strong sense that God sent him to be here with us. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University.

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

Kim Jefferson, sexton, has been an invaluable part of the Lake Street Church community for 20 years. He ministers diligently to the church, church house and surrounding grounds. His steadfast efforts behind the scenes ensure that our worship and community spaces are clean and ready for use on Sunday mornings. He also prepares and disassembles meeting room seating arrangements for the dozens of groups that use Lake Street Church’s facilities throughout the week.

 

As the seasons change, he can be seen on the church grounds cutting grass, raking
leaves, or shoveling snow.

 

In order to fulfill all of his responsibilities, he is usually one of the first people to arrive in the morning and is often the last person to leave at night.