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 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.
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, Noah (6) and Ethan (3). 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.
My husband (Mike) and his wonderful two children, Michael (6) and Maria (8), introduced me to Redeemer in 2011. I was instantly hooked, and for the first time in a long time, felt like I had found a spiritual home. The music, the welcoming community, the relatable sermons, the many opportunities to get involved and serve others, all keep me coming back.
I have had the privilege of serving as a small group leader in Foundation Youth Group for two years. I am also blessed to serve on the Joy to the City campaign and the Vision and Strategy Team. I have an M.Ed in special education and have sixteen years experience in the field of education. I am currently in private practice as an educational therapist, and loving it!! I continue to enjoy growing in my faith along side the Redeemer family.
Forgiven, beloved, hidden in Christ, made in the image of the Giver of Life, righteous and holy, reborn and remade, accepted and worthy, this is our new name. Not my words, Jason Gray’s words actually, but it describes me pretty well. I’m also a wife, mother of three boys, granny of two girls, a nurse anesthetist, and someone who loves music of almost any kind. I have been at Redeemer over 20 years, and have dabbled in almost everything – choir, Sunday School teaching, lay preaching, prayer team, and even knocking on doors once! And I truly believe the basic Lutheran tenant of “feed them, and they will come” – in so many ways.
I started coming to Redeemer in 2004, from the moment I walked in the door I knew that this was the place for me. Since I first started regularly attending I’ve gone from “Do we have to go to Church tomorrow?” to “I can’t wait for Sunday!”
Redeemer is the most welcoming, honest, and open community I’ve ever been a part of. God has blessed this place and I am lucky to have found it.
I help with our monthly worship service “Reimagine Worship,” assist in leading Sunday school, and participate in an awesome mid-week connection group. In my free time I watch TV, play video games, and co-host a video game podcast.
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!