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 My 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.
It is an honor and joy to serve as the Director of Youth Ministries at Northminster. I appreciate the fact that the children and youth of NPC are welcomed, loved and valued by the congregation for exactly who they are — each one a unique and beloved child of God. As an ordained youth minister, I seek to convey that message and to support ways for youth to grow individually and in their relationship with God and each other.
I was raised in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and had wonderfully formative experiences in my high school and college youth groups. After receiving my MDiv (McCormick Theological Seminary) and MSW in clinical social work (Loyola University) I was called and ordained to serve as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Families at the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette.
When I took leave of that position to stay home with my two young boys, our family choose NPC as our new faith community. We were drawn to NPC because our boys enjoyed the children’s program and we found the community to be incredibly warm and welcoming. Since then, my husband, Drew, and our boys have developed strong ties to the NPC community and all of us feel at home here. As our kids continue to move through the children and youth ministry programs, we look forward to deepening our roots here.
When I’m not at church, I can usually be found helping out at my kids’ schools, outside tending the garden, inside baking something sweet, hanging out at Langdon beach or quite possibly somewhere in Michigan. My husband and I were born and raised in Ann Arbor and I’m a graduate of the U. of M. — Go Blue! We currently live in Wilmette with our boys, exuberant golden retriever, and two sweet kitties.
Athina Sato, Financial Secretary
Athina 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!
Margaret MacKay, Director of My Morning Out
My name is Margaret MacKay and I am your program coordinator for the My Morning Out program at Northminster Presbyterian Church! I started in the role in August 2019. I was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa in a large family of 8 kids and I loved every minute of it! Although Iowa is still my favorite place on Earth, I have also loved the other places I lived: Missouri, Germany, Wisconsin, Chicago, Utah, and California. My husband Larry and I moved to Evanston 6 years ago with our three sons and we love it!! My background is in social work and I worked in that field for a very long time. Prior to starting with the MMO program, I routinely worked upstairs at Northminster Nursery School. I love working with your kids and look forward to each moment I have with them. They really are about as adorable as they get. Thank you for entrusting their care to me.
This is actually my second stay in the Chicago area. After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a major in advertising, I came to Chicago and worked as a copywriter for ad agencies on Michigan Avenue. (Yes, I am a word person!)
Nine years later I moved to Northern Virginia to be near my sister and wrote for ad agencies there. I got married, had a daughter, got divorced and applied my writing skills to membership associations, where employment is more stable. In the following years, I worked as a desktop publisher at a real estate agency, receptionist at three doctors’ offices, and even a dog walker. I was a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA, where I taught Sunday School, was active in the Parent’s Group, chaired the membership committee, and served on the session.
I was an active member in the Lions Club (maybe I’ll find a local club) and volunteered for Ronald McDonald House and A little Heart Charity. I left Virginia in September and moved to Evanston to be near my other sister (family is very important to me). The position I left was as church secretary for Our Saviour Lutheran Church, where I served two wonderful pastors and a lovely congregation for 3 ½ years.