Staff & Leadership

WCC Staff

  • Peter Hawkinson

    Senior Pastor

    Peter has served at WCC for many years after seasons of pastoral ministry in Seattle and Minneapolis. He and Wife Bonnie are parents of three grown daughters. Peter enjoys music of all sorts and especially live concerts, golfing with friends, and spending time with his yellow lab, Bear. 

  • Jen Christianson

    Associate Pastor

    Pastor Jen grew up on the East Coast, where she first grew to love the outdoors and being on the water. These days, she adores camping, reading, baking, and doing anything with her rescue dog Zoe. Pastor Jen especially enjoys studying and learning in small groups at church, and focusing on spiritual practices. 

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  • Lynnea Miller

    Youth Pastor

    Lynnea grew up in Batavia, IL and now lives in Chicago where she is working towards her Master of Divinity degree at North Park Theological Seminary. She serves as youth pastor here at Winnetka Covenant where she is privileged to spend time with and minister to the wonderful students of this church through youth groups and Confirmation. When she's not at youth group or studying Greek, Lynnea likes to explore new coffee shops in the city, watch the Chicago Bears, play music, and bake. 

  • Art Nelson

    Pastor Emeritus

    Art’s Covenant ministry spans more than 50 years. He grew up in the greater Chicago area, attending North Park Academy, University and Seminary. He was WCC’s senior pastor from 1967 to 1986, overseeing the fundraising and construction of our current facility and sanctuary. Prior to joining WCC, Art held pastorates in Chicago; Long Island, New York; Waltham, Mass.; and Seattle, Wash. He also served as acting president and dean of North Park Seminary, and taught pastoral studies there. Twice he served as chair of North Park University’s board of trustees, and was also interim president from 1979-80. Currently, he is a board member of Ministry Mentors, which he also chaired, coaching ministers around the country. Art has been married to his wife Laurel for more than 60 years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Art is the author of Prayers: Public and Personal, which guides pastors as they minister in special situations ranging from pain and grief to celebration.

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  • Judi Geake

    Spiritual Direction and Small Group Ministries

    After 20 years as executive director of a not-for-profit women's organization, Judi returned to North Park Theological Seminary for a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.  In addition to providing individuals with spiritual companionship, her love of bringing people together is evidenced in the several small groups she leads for the church and the many opportunities for fellowship she provides at her dining room table. Judi has been a member of WCC for over 40 years. 

  • Melissa Nelson

    Children's Ministry Associate

    Melissa has devoted her life to teaching kids, serving for 30 years with the Wilmette school district, where she primarily taught kindergarten. She grew up in Northern Colorado, attending a Presbyterian Church, and came to Chicago to study at North Park University, majoring in education. She married Pete Nelson in 1984, and they have three kids. Her family joined Winnetka Covenant in 1999 because of its wide-ranging offerings for children. In 2016, after retiring, Melissa was named WCC’s children’s ministry associate. In addition to planning Wednesday night kid’s activities, along with intergenerational programs, she plans Sunday morning worship programs for kids who take part in the first half of worship, then leave before the sermon. “On Wednesday nights, I want people from different generations to truly get to know each other,” she said. “On Sundays, I want our kids to feel loved and safe and nurtured, learning how God can truly be a part of their lives.”

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  • Susie Lofton

    Administrative Assistant & Office Manager

  • Mary Barnes Gingrich

    Interim Director of Music

  • Peter Strom

    Facilities Manager

  • Zoe Larson

    Web and Social Media Coordinator

  • Misse Kaat

    Children and Family Ministry Co-Coordinator

    Misse is passionate about creating a space for kids and families to make lasting connections in the church and beyond. At home, she lives with her husband, Aaron, their four kids and their dog, Liberty. She is honored to be a part of the excitement at WCC!

  • Kari Lindahl

    Children and Family Ministry Co-Coordinator

    Kari grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and attended North Park University where she met her husband, John. They currently live in Skokie with their three kids. During her free time, Kari enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing games, working out, drinking coffee, and watching sports. 

  • Mirela Hukic

    Coordinator of Church Finances

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Our talented members are also very active volunteers who help lead our church with a wide array of ministries. They include:

2023 Officers

Chairperson: Rob Thomas

Vice-Chairperson: Val Hausman

Secretary: Lisa Magnusson

Treasurer: Roger Schmitt

Financial Secretary: Bill Milbratz

2023 Boards and Committees

Board of Trustees: Oversees the organizational governance of our church. Trustees ensure we operate ethically, show fiscal responsibility, and remain true to our mission and values. Also oversee the church pledges, tithes and offerings, and maintain Winnetka Covenant’s property and facilities.

Steve Kanda, Chair

Denise Johnson, Steve Kanda, Luke Knotts, Bill Milbratz, Peter A. Nelson, Peter C. Nelson, Susan Schmitt, Roger Schmitt.

Board of Deacons: Helps the pastoral staff with the spiritual nurture and care of our members. This includes serving communion; interviewing, recommending and welcoming new members; making sure members are informed about major church events; hosting and providing refreshments for special services like funerals and memorials; visiting shut-ins; and organizing card, flower and church greeter ministries.

Gary Isaacson, Sandi Hotchkiss, Terese Hunt,  Joan Johnson, Ruth Johnson, Kurt Kovacic,  Deb O’Donovan, Mary Rhodes, Jane Rivi.

Board of Christian Formation: Supports the pastoral staff in planning adult and children’s Sunday school, as well as other educational opportunities that encourage Christian growth.

Carmela Heintzelman, Sue Kelly, Kari Lindahl, Eric Fogel, Judi Geake, Anne Bassett, Mike Magnusson, Misse Kaat.

Missions Committee: Allocates financial support to a dozen local, national and international missions, and also supports 19 missionaries who serve on five continents.

Julie Hextell-Ryan, Linnea Johnson, Laura Werling, Aidan Jimenez.

Community Engagement: Creates opportunities to connect Winnetka Covenant with our local community. Encourages members to invite and welcome newcomers, and find ways to share our faith with our surrounding neighbors.

Dave Johnson, Meg Madvig, Bonnie Hawkinson, Jed Bassett, Lisa Magnuson.

Nominating Committee: Prepares a slate of candidates each year who will serve in areas of their giftedness and interests to help lead and support our church boards and committees.

Inger Eiesland-Schultz, Kim Steiner, Brian Madvig, Mary Beth Kovacic, Kelly Quackenbush, Colette Quackenbush.

Special Purpose Committee #1:  Personnel Committee

Carl Balsam, Andrea Johnson, Jane Westerfield, Nadia Jimenez.

Special Purpose Committee #2:  Mutual Ministry Committee

Barb Balsam, Chris Christenson, Mollie Sudhoff, Melanie Tornquist.