One of the great strengths of Redeemer is that we’ve been blessed with a remarkably large number of leaders. Since space doesn’t permit us to show them all, we’ll simply introduce you to our staff and the current members of our Vision and Strategy Team.
Used to be: a travel agent; a specialist in Christian-Muslim relations; a missionary in Bangladesh; better at golf and basketball; not gray (don’t let my picture fool you!)
But still is: extroverted; an avid reader and movie buff; moderately athletic; a sports fan; a night owl; madly in love with my wife, Carol (see below); passionate about Jesus and the people at Redeemer; an evangelist at heart
Perfect meal: almost anything Indian
Still flying high from: Having written a book, A Spiritual Survival Guide for Prison and Beyond, along with editor Dave Zimmerman and inmates from Stateville Prison in Joliet.
Working on: Coaching congregational renewal teams, creating an effective ex-offender ministry for congregations, toying with the idea of writing another book — this time a Guide to the Christian Faith for Interested Muslims. Finding balance.
Recent favorite books: Bringing Sex into Focus by Caroline Simon; Culture Making by Andy Crouch; Free of Charge by Miroslav Volf; and Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani.
Favorite part of my role at Redeemer: meeting people and helping them enter a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
How I got into ministry: I came to a point in my life where I understood a simple but powerful truth: “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking) I love learning about God, hanging out at church, and being around people as much as possible. To use those gifts fully in service to other people, God called me to be a pastor.
What I like doing outside church: cooking and dining out with my wife; cycling insanely long distances; listening to music, everything from classical to heavy metal; watching classic films; reading the New York Times
Hometown: Orange County, CA Family info: married to Stephanie, a nurse at the University of Chicago One thing God wants me to share with others: Life is richer, truer, and freer with God in control. My favorite word and why: “Why?” Seriously. You can find out amazing things about people when you ask the “why” question. What makes me laugh: my in-laws’ neurotic dog, Mitzi, who spins circles and eats cat food. And Conan O’Brien.
After working beside Fred for 7+ years at Redeemer, I was asked to join the staff of the Chicago-area bishop of our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where I focused particularly on congregational renewal among the more than 200 congregations in our area. That work was both challenging and rewarding.
But, as the plans for Redeemer to become a multisite church came into focus, I felt strongly drawn to be back with the congregation full-time, to help especially with ministry at the Park Ridge campus. In January 2012, the congregation called me back as part of the newly forming pastoral staff.
Personally: Fred and I have four grown sons, two in the Chicago area and two farther afield. I love reading a really good book, golfing with Fred, laughing, tromping in the woods, etc. All-time favorite movies: Bull Durham, To Be and To Have, Breaking Away, The Great Match. Recent good books read: Gilead, Three Times Lucky, Surprised by Hope.
I have been a member of Redeemer since 2004. My now-husband Dan and I were a Sunday away from joining another church that we really liked, when we happened upon a newspaper article about Redeemer’s Young Adult Ministry. Intrigued at the prospect of seeing other twenty-somethings in church, we visited. We loved the worship experience, immediately felt at home, and needless to stay, stuck around. Our involvement here has helped us to deepen our faith and develop meaningful relationships.
I came to the Chicago area from Dallas/Fort Worth in 1999 — just one of a long succession of relocations throughout my life. I taught high school English from 2003-2012 and recently earned my Masters in English from Middlebury College. I am thrilled to now be serving at Redeemer in a new capacity: as Ministry Coordinator at both the Park Ridge and Chicago campuses, I focus on communication, children’s and 20/30s ministries, helping people discover and use their God-given gifts, and our Reimagine Worship gatherings.
Peter Schwich (Campus Pastor, Portage Park)
I was born in Evanston, raised in various parts of Chicago and Park Ridge, and now live on the Northwest Side of the city in the Portage Park neighborhood. I went to college at Valparaiso University in Indiana, graduating in 2007 as a history major. After a period of years bouncing along various unfulfilled career paths, I started seminary in 2012 at North Park Theological Seminary, with the hope of becoming a pastor. I graduated in 2015 and am excited to be working on the development of Redeemer’s third campus, on the NW Side.
My wife, Jade, and I were married in December 2016. She teaches seventh grade social studies and language arts at Eisenhower Junior High School in Hoffman Estates. In my leisure time, I enjoy watching the Cubs, the NBA, and soccer. I also face the perpetual challenge of forcing myself to watch the occasional critically acclaimed drama instead of a dumb comedy I’ve already seen multiple times.
I can’t say enough about the value the community of Redeemer has had on my life over the past many years. I have come to experience a life that is more hopeful, more joyful, and just better, by the grace of God and the blessing of his community.
Dan Nelson (Church Planting Resident)
What is your favorite thing about Chicago so far? Definitely the public transportation. It is so easy to get anywhere and everywhere!
Aneel Trivedi (President)
I found Redeemer through an advertisement for a Friday night “Reimagine Worship” service in January, 2009 and was immediately impressed by the welcoming, open, conversational style of worship. I started attending regularly soon after.
My wife (Sara) and I are one of the many new families with young children at Redeemer. We have two boys, Noahand Ethan. We’re relative newbies to the Chicago area, but have settled down after many years of travel and instability. The wonderful community at Redeemer has a lot to do with that.
I have a degree in statistics from UC Davis and an MBA from Auburn. I’m an avid baseball fan. You can follow me on Twitter @aneeltrivedi.
James Pessin (Vice President)
Pastor Fred and I grabbed lunch after I visited Redeemer for the first time. Neither of us thought I’d stick around long (Redeemer was too different to what I’d experienced and expected in church), but we were wrong. At first, I stayed for the free food, cool people, and inspiring tagline. Eventually, as Redeemer became my home, I made good friends, matured as a person and follower of Jesus, and was challenged to step up in leadership. It’s been really exciting to see what God has been doing here as I’ve gotten involved in connection groups, the band, lay preaching, the vision and strategy team, and planting a new site.
I’m an Electrical Engineer and love to play music (as seen in the “meet the band” page). My favorite movies are “On the Waterfront” and “High Noon,” and I love learning about science, theology, and ethnomusicology.
Thanks for the time to think of meaningful approach to the bio. I wish that I could say that I’ve spent the last few days finalizing an amazing piece but, sadly, I’ve spent it procrastinating. So now to get this done…
While searching for a new church for our family, I heard about an amazing church that had lots to offer its members and regular attenders. After a quick Google search, we headed off to Redeemer Chicago one Sunday in January 2015. Turns out we had remembered the name wrong but it was no mistake that we found ourselves at Redeemer. From the first visit, we knew this was our church.
I work as the Chief Operating Officer of The Admiral at the Lake during the day but my favorite “job” is playing mom to our two human daughters, Aubrey and Fiona, and our canine daughter, Parker, alongside my husband Paul. I try to fill my free time with activities (and people!) that contribute to my sense of purpose, that build community, that support others and that restore my mind, body and spirit.
I am lifelong Chicago resident and have been married to my wife Jeanne since 2000. We found Redeemer in 2007 while looking for a church closer to home and made an instant connection. Over the years we have been involved in a variety of ways and deepened that connection. I enjoyed serving as a Treasurer for a number of years as well as teaching Sunday school, serving on the lay preaching team and participating in a small group. Jeanne and I have two children with whom we love to explore the world. I love listening to music and am a sucker for a variety of podcasts and political discussions. We enjoy car camping in cool weather, traveling to visit friends who are scattered around the world, and exploring all that Chicago has to offer. We like exercising as a family and eating together. I used to say I could live on peanut butter and jelly, but Jeanne broke me of that habit, and I am happy to say that I am now a foodie. We have our favorite “go to” places, but are always open to recommendations to try something new! In my day job, I’m a tax partner with a regional accounting firm where I help businesses and their owners understand the tax ramifications of their business and investment decisions.
My wife Heather and I have been blessed a thousand times over by Redeemer since attending the first Chicago preview service on 8/19/12, and we are excited by the opportunity for me to serve through the Vision and Strategy Team. We live in Oak Park and had been praying for a life-filled church closer to home for a very long time. We loved our previous church in Logan Square, but the distance made it difficult for us to truly interweave our lives with our friends there…Redeemer Chicago has been an answered prayer for us in so many ways.
We are celebrating the recent birth of our first child (a daughter!) and feel so loved by our church family as they have brought us hot meals, called to talk, kept us company…and made themselves scarce when things got a little overwhelming! We are bursting at the seams in appreciation. I recently finished my neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at UIC/Northwestern and will be starting my job at Loyola in the very near future. It’s been a long road, but God has really used it as a way for me to connect to other people and serve in a way that plays to my strengths.
We are excited by what our future holds, and again, we are so happy about me joining the VST.
I am first generation born and raised in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood to parents who immigrated from Colombia (mom) and Mexico (dad). I am an entrepreneur at heart, but focus on real estate management, sales, and development. I graduated from UIC in 2007 with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice (minor in Arabic). I enjoy spending my free time with my family (Sergio, my niece and nephew Genesis and Andrew, and my two-year-old Ava), listening to audiobooks, or watching any Reality TV (don’t judge me). I started attending Redeemer Chicago about a year ago and my family has not been the same since!