I conduct the Chancel Choir, Adult Bell Choir and supervise the wonderful musicians on staff at Northminster.
It is clear upon attending a service at Northminster that music is integral to our worship! My goal as music director is to foster the spiritual journey of all our members — some directly, through their participation in Adult Bells or the Chancel Choir and others indirectly, such as those worshipping with us on Sundays.
In the ensembles we improve our singing and playing techniques so that we can connect with the music and communicate our faith to the congregation. The congregation hears our ensembles every week and it is my hope they connect with the music to further their own understanding and strengthen their faith.
I began my music studies in the sixth grade. I started playing organ at my church during 10th grade, and conducted our church’s adult choir during my senior year of high school. The church and its remarkable music have played a large part in fashioning who I am as a musician.
Outside of Northminster I am the Director of Choral Activities and Music Education Professor at Northeastern Illinois University. In addition to academia, I work as a music director and chorus master for a variety of professional music groups including Vox 3 Vocal Collective, Chicago Opera Vanguard and Mozawa.
As organist at Northminster, my main duties are to lead the congregational hymns, provide preludes and postludes, and accompany the Chancel Choir and soloists. My musical education includes a Bachelor’s degree from Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, studying with David Craighead, and a Master’s degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, studying with Karel Paukert. I have played for church services since the age of 13. Before coming to Northminster, I had played for Glenview Community Church, First United Methodist in Elgin, and First United Methodist in Crystal Lake.
I have played for NPC for the last 22 years. I feel blessed in getting to know and work with the soloists and members of our Chancel Choir, getting to work with the instrumentalists, pro and amateur, of the church, and meeting and making friends with other congregational members.
In addition to playing at NPC I also play for North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe. Shortly after I came to Northminster, the Chicago Brass Quintet and I recorded a CD titled “Music for Brass and Organ.”
I come to Northminster from a previous career in marketing, which I left when my daughter Ashlyn was born. In the past several years, I’ve been raising my children, Ashlyn, 8 and Henry, 6, and serving my community in myriad ways.
I’ve been a board member at School for Little Children and am currently on the board of Evanston’s AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization). I’m also active with my children’s school PTA.
For the past few years I’ve taught sewing classes at area schools as well as weekend classes and workshops for kids and adults. I’m co-founder of camp DIY, a unique arts and crafts summer camp for kids located in Evanston.
Previously I owned a business, The Purple Pea, where I designed and created unique clothing for children sold in area stores and craft fairs. At First Presbyterian Church in Evanston I’ve overseen and created curriculum for Kingdom Kids, a young children’s class (akin to our Mom’s Morning Out). An active member at Northminster, I coordinated this year’s Vacation Bible School, which was a terrific success. I’ve also served on Session as an elder and previous to this position worked at NPC’s Sunday Nursery Room Supervisor.
I joined Northminister in the fall of 2015 to lead the Youth Handbell Choir, Sunday School Choir, and Cherub Choir. I am a student at Northwestern University studying Voice Performance, Music Education, and Sociology. On campus, I am the music director of Treblemakers A Cappella, a soprano in the Bienen/Early Contemporary Vocal Ensemble (BCE), and occasionally sing in operas.
My father is a church choir conductor, so my faith and music have always been heavily connected. I hope to become a choral director of some sorts, while maintaining a professional choral singing career. I am passionate about giving youth the opportunity to connect with others and God through music. I believe that these interpersonal and spiritual connections formed through music ultimately make the world a better place.
I am very excited to be joining the team at Northminster as the new Director of Youth Ministry. I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago; and my own experience as a student in youth ministry was tremendously impactful. As an undergraduate, I majored in biblical studies at Cairn University, where I met my wife Jenna. I then attended Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating with an M.Div in 2015.
Jenna and I currently live in Albany Park, where she serves in the Department of Advancement at North Park University. I am looking forward to working with the students, adults, and staff, of Northminster to help foster a fun and supportive community of faith where students can feel welcome, along with all of their questions and their quirky individuality. I truly believe it’s impossible to overestimate the significance of a community where students are empowered to grow together in faith, understanding, and service as they develop a relationship with God that is uniquely their own.
I enjoy reading, skateboarding (16 years now and going strong), hiking, and just about anything that gets me outdoors. I’m also a big deep dish pizza fan, and my loyalties lie generally with Lou Malnati’s.
I joined Northminster in August 2013 and I am so happy to be here. As the Parish Administrator, I am grateful to the many volunteers and wonderful parishioners who make this position so enjoyable. I am also grateful to our Senior Pastor, Michael Kirby, and our Associate Pastor, Jessica Gregory, for their leadership and guidance.
Before coming to Northminster, I was a freelance writer and communications consultant for more than 25 years but recently life took me down a different path. In 2006, as an “older student,” I went back to school and graduated from North Park Seminary in 2010 with a master’s degree in theological studies. At the time, I thought I would jump right into working for a Christian organization, utilizing my journalistic background (I graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism many years ago) and my new theological knowledge. But that didn’t happen — until now. I am so glad to be meeting those of you who make it into the office during our weekday hours. And it is a pleasure to meet so many others of you over the phone or through email.
Athina Sato, Financial Secretary
Athina has replaced Mike Jin as NPC’s Financial Secretary in 2017. She is in charge of all revenues and expenses passing through Northminster Church.
Athina was born and raised in Evanston by two immigrant parents. Her mother was born in Germany and her father was born in Turkey. She graduated with a degree in Business and has worked as an accountant with her father for 17 years. She still lives in Evanston with her husband, Aaron, and her two children, Miles (11) and Isaac (9). The newest addition to her family is Lucy the cockapoo puppy.
I have been with Northminster Nursery School for 14 years, and have been Director for the last 3 years. I have a degree in Biology from the University of Illinois and a Master of Education from Springfield College in Massachusetts. My husband, Peter, and I have four daughters, all of whom graduated from Northminster Nursery School. In my free time, I like to read, walk my dog, and attend Northwestern sporting events with my family. The best part of my work week is that I get to hear the joyful sounds of busy children just outside my office door!