The members of the vestry are elected by the parish and serve as its board of directors and legal agent, working closely with the rector and wardens. Vestry members serve in a variety of ways to help the church meet both day-to-day and long-term challenges.
Senior Warden: Jenn Urso Junior Warden: Deb Maue Parish Treasurer: Marty Dunlavey Associate Treasurers: Priscilla Nied, Eva Pearson, Linda Bolte Class of 2023: Pam Jacknow, Katie Kearns, Eva Pearson Class of 2024: Peter Curtin, Thomas Gary, Gretchen Straw Class of 2025: Kelly Clissold, Mark Schneider
Jenn Urso - Senior Warden My name is Jennifer Urso and I attend Wiggle Worship with my husband, Bill, and my 3.5 year old daughter, Bria. After trying a few different Episcopal churches in the western suburbs, we began regularly attending St. Christopher's in early 2014, while we were expecting, as it was important to us that we raised out daughter within a strong Christian community of faith and we really felt at home with a smaller, tightly-knit parish. In fact, Bria was Eric's first baptism at St. C's (and I believe ever) - and she didn't even cry! I've never served on a vestry before, but was raised in the Episcopal church, having been baptized, confirmed and insisting my husband and I get married in the Episcopal Church. Most recently, I served on the Stewardship committee, which kicked off with a series of summer fellowship events and concluded with our annual giving campaign. Having a young family, I'm most passionate about engaging young people in the church (I've loved seeing how much Wiggle Worship has exploded over the past several months) and finding ways for them to stay engaged through high school and into early adulthood.
Deb Maue - Junior Warden In January, 1995, I visited St. Christopher's for the very first time, and had the good fortune to sit behind then-office assistant Edith Aldworth, who recruited me to the choir. (No one said "no" to Edith.) Exactly 23 years later, I'm still a member of the choir, and I'm also a chalice bearer and, most recently, an Altar Guild member. This will be my 3rd tour on vestry. The first was during the capital campaign/architectural planning for the renovation and addition, and I don't remember much about the second because I had a baby and a toddler at the time. There have been many changes at St. Christopher's over my time here, but it remains a very special place where we all gather not only to worship but to support each other in doing God's work in the world. I'm looking forward to helping to shape the course over the next few years.
Kelly Clissold I was raised in Marshall, Michigan, and moved to the Chicago area in 1991. I work as print production manager for a small ad agency. My family, including my wife, Anna, and our two kids, Edward and Vaughn, has attended St. Christopher’s since the year 2000, having moved to Oak Park in late 1999. I’ve been an active member of the parish for much of that time. I currently sing in the choir and serve as a lector, and I’ve previously been a delegate to convention and led the Rite-13 youth group. Pre-pandemic, I was a site captain for Housing Forward’s emergency shelter, and continue to serve monthly at St. C’s Beyond Hunger shift. This will be my second vestry tour. There have been many changes during my time at St. C’s, and I’m excited to help guide the parish during this time of challenge and transition.
Peter J. Curtin My name is Pete Curtin, and I’ve attended Saint Christopher’s for several years(the 10:30 service). I moved to Chicago from the D.C. area in October 2012for work, and the family --Susan and our two daughters Katie (now 18) and Leah (now 16) --joined me at the end of June 2013 as we settled in Oak Park. (Susan had spent the previous nine months wrangling two young girls mostly on her own, preparing our house for sale and then selling it.) We checked out Grace Church and Saint C’s and some other suburban churches early on trying to find the right fit. We eventually began attending Saint C’s regularly and became “official” members. I started becoming more involved in the Parish and our ministries in late 2018 to early 2019. I am now a Lector and a member of the Choir (although I was very new when the pandemic hit). I have served as a chalice-bearer and have written a couple of Lectionary blogs. I was volunteering with Rich Nied and the crew at the Fraternité de Notre Dame Soup Kitchen until the pandemic. You may recognize Leah as active in the Youth Group, on the Nursery staff, and one of the youth who regularly worked at the outdoors services. I was received into the Episcopal Church on Easter Sundayin2007. I converted from Catholicism because in late 2006 I was asked to run for the Vestry at our former parish, Grace Episcopal Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. Our family had attended services at Grace since 2002, and I was volunteering in the Sunday School and had joined the Accessible Grace Committee (overseeing renovations to improve access for those with physical disabilities). That request made me ask myself whether I was willing to commit. I served on the Vestry at Grace from 2008-2009 (Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee), and then served two terms as Senior Warden from January 2009-January 2013. The Rector retired in mid-2009 (having announced her plans just after nominations in January). We called an Interim Rector in Fall 2009, went through the required discernment, conducted a national search, and called a permanent Rector in early 2011. Grace was greatly blessed during that18-month transition. Parish membership increased, finances stabilized, the music ministry grew, and the Accessible Grace project successfully concluded by adding an elevator to the church building. All of this was due to the hard work of an outstanding Interim Rector with remarkable management and diplomatic skills, a fine parish staff, and the efforts of many dedicated Vestry members, Search Committee members,and other volunteers.By the end of my second term, Grace was preparing to launch another capital campaign to address other renovations and the deferred maintenance issues so common in old church buildings. I would like to serve on the Vestry at Saint Christopher’s because I have come to care about this church community and would like to be of service.
Thomas Gary My name is Thomas Gary. When I’m not called away for Federal service, I am usually in attendance of 10:30 High Mass. I live in south Oak Park with my wife, Cristal, and son, Alex. I work in the State Treasurer’s office. I am active in my community, serving with Beyond Hunger and Austin Coming Together. I recently served as a delegate representing St. Christopher’s on the Bishopric Search. I am happy to continue my service to my community and Church.
Pamela Jacknow My name is Pamela Jacknow and I would like to be a member of the vestry at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I was an active member at St. Thomas Episcopal Church all my life. As a baby, I was baptized there and later, as a young adult, I was confirmed and welcomed into the Episcopalian diocese. I have always been very active within the church community. For nearly a decade, I served as a counselor at an Episcopal summer camp called Sheldon Calvary Camp in Conneaut, Ohio. I still return to camp each summer with my family because of the connections I have made within that community. In 2004, I moved to Chicago and accepted a position with Chicago Public Schools. Today, I teach 7th grade math on the south-side of Chicago. In 2011, I married Matthew Jacknow, who has lived in Forest Park his entire life. When we began our family and welcomed our oldest son, Lincoln, in September of 2014, we decided to join a church that would best suit our growing family. (We welcomed our second son, Warren, in September 2017.) We spent a few years “church shopping” and have found St. Christopher’s to be the perfect place for our family. Our boys love this church as much as we do. And we deeply appreciate how welcomed our young family is here as well as how respectfully our kids are treated and included in all the activities. Father Eric and the rest of the St. Christopher’s crew have gone above and beyond to teach our children about love and faith in ways they understand. (Until St. Christopher’s, we had never heard of a wiggle worship before! It’s the best!) I would be honored to serve St. Christopher’s as a member of our vestry.
Katie Kearns Katie has been a member of St. Christopher’s since January of 2019. She started attending regularly in December of 2018. She is now a member of the Altar Guild and participates in the 8 AM service as a chalice bearer, lector and acolyte. Katie was received by the Episcopal Church in June of 2019 with Eric and George at her side. She was raised Roman Catholic and worked for a Catholic church until September of 2018. Katie lives just a four minute walk away from the church. She says, “Geography brought me here but the church community made me want to stay.”
Eva Pearson My name is Eva Pearson and my family and I have attended St. Christopher’s 10:30 service since we moved to Oak Park about 12 years ago. My husband, Bill, and I have two children, Jane (12) and Eddie (10), who are active in Sunday school, Treble Choir, and the knitting/crochet group. I am in the adult choir and an assistant treasurer. During the week, I teach accounting at DePaul and UIC. Bill and I have both served on the vestry in the past, and I am happy to be taking my second turn. It’s exciting to see St. C’s thrive, and I’m looking forward to getting to better know and be a part of our growing church family.
MarkSchneider I have been involved with St. Christopher's for almost 25 years. My most consistent involvement has been as a member of the choir. I met my wife Eileen in the choir at St. Christopher's, and we have been regular choir members at St. Christopher's and at St. David's (during our sojourn in Michigan) since then. The quality of fellowship connected me to St. Christopher's and has kept me connected all these years. When we moved back to Chicago from Michigan, we picked up at St. Christopher's right where we left off. I have worked in insurance and risk management positions my entire career, and I am currently the insurance manager for the Archdiocese of Chicago, which provides an interesting perspective on the challenges facing the church in this age, and now facing all churches as the result of the pandemic. This is actually an opportune time for this parish to better define its mission of Christian service. I want to help this church embrace that mission.
GretchenStraw I am retired from AARP where I worked in survey and evaluation research. I am an amateur artist with an interest in both drawing and painting. I am an avid hiker and have done several long distance walks including the English Coast to Coast and the West Highland Way. My husband and I moved to Oak Park from Virginia in 2019 to be closer to our son, his wife, and their two kids (ages 7 and 2). I have attended the early service at St. Christopher's since moving here. I was attracted to the quiet, contemplative format of the eight o'clock service. I was also impressed by the various ways St. C's served the community. I currently serve as a lector, a member of the Asylum Ministry Leadership Group, and a Member of the Integration Committee. Prior to joining St. C's, I was a member of the Altar Guild and a member of the Vestry of Calvary Episcopal Church in Front Royal, VA.
Every year, St. Christopher’s promotes nominations for Vestry, seeking 3 new members to serve 3-year terms beginning in January. Also needed to fill are one vacancy left by the retiring Senior Warden, who is succeeded by the Junior Warden. For more information on vestry nominations, and to fill out a Vestry Nomination Form, please download the PDF file below.