Rev. Christopher Powell, Rector
Christopher has always felt that the parish church is a laboratory for saints and a sanctuary for sinners. He compares his role as rector to yeast in bread: “My job is to help people rise in the same way leaven helps the loaf rise. What I love is that when the loaf is fully risen, the leaven is indistinguishable from the bread.”
Christopher received a B.A. in English from Tulane University and his Masters of Divinity from Nashotah House. Among his favorite poems is The Slow Work of God by Tielhard de Chardin which identifies the patient manner in which God is pleased to give us the Kingdom. email
Rev. Nadia Stefko, Associate Rector
Nadia believes that the best responses to most of life’s big questions will either begin or end with, “because wow…the incarnation!” Her faith journey is deeply informed and enriched by her relationship with the soil–the rich, fragrant, messy, living stuff out of which God created us and feeds us, and where God promises to return (with) us. She is fascinated by all the different ways God gives us to grow together in Christian community.
Nadia received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and her M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She lives in Skokie with her husband and their two young daughters (otherwise known as her best mentors in the faith). email
Rev. Rodney Quainton, Assisting Priest
Rod and his wife Nanci Priest joined the Christ Church community in April, 2014 after serving 25 years as a priest following a 17 year banking career. Rod retired in 2013 after 14 years as Executive Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Michigan. He has served three Episcopal Churches in his ministry: St. Dunstan’s, Houston, Texas; All Saints, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and as Rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene, Texas. Additionally he has served as Program Director at the Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Rod believes God is experienced in the most extraordinary places along life’s journey whether in the sacraments, at the death of a loved one, in the workplace, in the Navy, and especially in the form of that still small voice. Rod’s journey is anchored in faith communities that have nurtured him in all stages of his life and he came to Christ Church because of its dedication to excellence in word and sacrament and a gift for warm hospitality. Rod likes to teach and journey with others in the great faith questions. Rod holds a B.A. from Yale University in Economics, an M.B.A. from The Harvard Business School and a Masters of Divinity from The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Rod is inspired by the poetry of Robert Frost, especially “After Apple-Picking”. email
Richard Clemmitt, Organist & Choirmaster
Organist and Choirmaster Richard Clemmitt is responsible for the management of the Christ Church music program. Since his arrival in 1992, that program has grown to include multiple choirs of well over one hundred total participants. In addition to singing in Winnetka, choirs from Christ Church tour yearly under his direction, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Richard loves his work as a teacher of sacred music. He particularly enjoys working through music to foster the growth of Christian community among both youth and adults.
Richard earned his BM from New England Conservatory and his MM from Westminster Choir College. He is a member of several national musical organizations and is a published composer. email
Elizabeth Clemmitt, Primary Choir Director
Elizabeth has been the director of the Primary Choir for first and second grade singers since the fall of 1996. She is the music teacher at Willow Wood Preschool in Winnetka and at Ronald Knox Montessori School in Wilmette. She has also taught general music in the Glenview public schools (K-6).
Elizabeth believes that one of the most powerful ways to experience God’s love is through the joy of music. Elizabeth helps develop and nurture this joy in our youngest singers by including fun singing games, puppets, and rhythm instruments in her rehearsals. She teaches children the basics of choral singing and music reading and prepares them to sing an anthem in church services five times a year.
Elizabeth received her B.A. Degree in Music from The Colorado College in Colorado Springs and her Masters of Music in Music Education from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. email
Jay Peterson, Organ Associate
Jay is very committed to supporting the congregation’s singing, to collaborating with the choir and to providing organ and piano repertoire that enhances corporate worship. He especially appreciates the emphasis on musical education that Richard Clemmitt pursues with the young choristers.
Jay earned the BM and MM from the Eastman School of Music and the DMA from the University of Illinois. He taught for thirty-two years at MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL, and often pursues solo performance opportunities. He also enjoys being an officer for two Chicagoland musical organizations and performing as keyboardist for the Chicago Chamber Choir. email
Melissa Durbin, Director of Children’s Ministries
Melissa became the Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Church in July 2013, after being a parishioner for 11 years and a Church School leader for 10 years. Her previous professional career was in the advertising business in account management and client services. In her current role, she likes to think about the parable of the mustard seed, in which a person planted the tiniest of seeds which then grew and grew into a shrub large enough that the birds came and made nests there.
Melissa loves the way that Christianity permeates every single corner of your life and world, and that once you start on the path, you have no choice but to continue following it with all your heart. Every day she is inspired by this quote from Swiss philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel, “There isn’t much time to gladden hearts, be quick to love and make haste to be kind!”
Melissa received her B.A. in English from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Most recently she earned her certificate of training in Godly Play, a core curriculum used by many Christian denominations. email
Lucila is our warm hearted nursery supervisor. Lucila welcomes all children of the parish with great joy and enthusiasm.
Leah Romanelli, Youth Minister
Leah has been working with children, teens, and young adults for the past seven years within churches, college ministries, and public schools. She loves hearing the thoughts of teenagers as they decide who they are and helping them realize their own identity within their community and the world.
Leah is inspired by the work of the saints in the book of Acts and enjoys working with people to establish communal, missional vision. She believes that the Church is the strongest force for good in the world when we all live out our baptismal ministry together. Leah enjoys the writing of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, especially this quote, which points to the holiness of the every day: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes.”
Leah graduated from Grinnell College in 2006 with her degree in English. She received her certificate in Youth & Family Ministry from FORMA, as sponsored by Bexley-Seabury Seminary, in January 2015. email
Charlotte McGee, Rummage Coordinator & Parish Administrative Assistant
She and her family have been parishioners since 1994 when they relocated to Winnetka from Boston. She is also active in many areas of our church life: singing in the choir, the Hospitality Committee, and she is a co-chair of our Christmas Angel program.
Charlotte believes that Rummage is a ministry that touches the lives of the entire parish, the community at large, and the greater Chicago area. Besides providing quality merchandise at reasonable prices to our customers who have few other shopping options, the money raised by this ministry is given away to over 55 area charities, and it diverts many things from our landfills. This makes the Rummage Coordinator very happy.
When Charlotte is not tending to our Rummage Ministry she acts as an Administrative Assistant in the office. She prints the weekly service bulletins, oversees the church calendar, and serves as the Music Department Assistant once a week.
Charlotte received her BA from New York University. email
Rena Kowalski, Communications/IT
Rena has worked at Christ Church since 2004, first as our receptionist, then Administrative Assistant, and now in the role of Communications. She has an extensive background in computers, electronic fundraising and database work, but was particularly attracted to the Christ Church position by the friendly environment.
Rena has been married to Tom for the past 34 years and has three sons. They are avid sports fans. email
Cindy Lyman, Financial Manager
Cindy joined the Christ Church staff in November, 2015 as the Financial Manager. A “Cradle – to – Grave” Episcopalian, Cindy has been a member of Christ Church for over 20 years. She is a tax attorney and CPA with experience in a large law firm and as in-house counsel. Cindy has served as the Rummage Treasurer for the past eight years. She lives in Winnetka with her husband and two children.
Cindy received her B.S. in Accounting from Bucknell University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. email
Jim Caldwell, Facilities Manager
My favorite part about being on the staff at Christ Church is working toward restoring and preserving the church’s historic buildings.
In addition to Christ Church, I currently work full time as Director of Buildings & Grounds for Lincolnwood schools. District 74 is a wonderful place to work with all it’s smiling faces – only rivaled by the good people at Christ Church. email
Mario Ruiz, Sexton
Mario was born in Uriangato, Mexico and started to spend summers between his college years working as a caddy at Indian Hill Country Club in Winnetka. Knowing the course was closed on Mondays, Parishioner Georganne Chalmers asked if he would like to help on Mondays with Rummage at Christ Church. This started a wonderful, 20 year-plus relationship with us. He started as a part-time Sexton in 1996 and finished his BA in 2005 at Northeastern University. He is married to Lucila, who directs our Childcare room on Sunday mornings. Mario’s sons, Emmanuel and Pieter, sing in our Youth Choir. email
Steve Tracy, Sexton
Steve is a born and bred Chicagoan and is a perfect example of “it’s all about who you know.” After fifteen years in the restaurant business where he started washing dishes and ended up as the chef, he found himself in need of a job. His younger brother was working with our Facilities Manager, Jim Caldwell, in the Linconwood schools. They were in need of a part time custodian; the rest is history! Steve also began part-time at Christ Church in 2013, becoming full-time on January 1, 2015. What’s the best thing about working at Christ Church? “The people! It’s an awesome place to work.” email