Rev. Matt Fitzgerald
Matt is a lover of poetry, a player of basketball, a frequent contributor to religious journals, and a storytelling preacher who’s as likely to reference favorite rappers from the 80s (his kids do try to keep him more current) as he is Barth and Bonhoeffer. A graduate of Macalester College, Yale Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary, Matt lives in Lincoln Park with his wife Kelli, their three teenagers, and Zeus, their dog.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Carlson
Jeff is a singer, speaker of French and preacher of plain-spoken sermons rich with insight and imagery. He helps us explore scripture as an adventure of Adult Faith Formation, and leads Outreach and our Stephens Ministry. A graduate of Oregon State University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv), and at Eden Theological Seminary (DMin), Jeff lives with his partner Joe in the West Loop.
Rev. Sarah Garcia
Sarah has a contagious passion for youth, and a creative dedication to reaching, empowering, and enlivening the many children, teens and families of our church. After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, she found a call to ministry while working with abandoned children in Brazil. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Sarah lives in Lincoln Park with her husband Toby and two young daughters.
Language is at the heart of Benny’s approach to ministry, and he uses his background in poetics to explore its many interpretive avenues. He is a Master of Divinity Student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he also earned an M.A in Humanities. He is a member of a national cohort of transgender seminarians, is supported in his education by The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and writes queer and trans liturgies.
For 28 years, Tom was our Senior Pastor – and for eight years prior to that he was an Associate Pastor. His wife of 45 years, and fellow Chicago Theological Seminary student, Colleen was an essential partner in his ministry, until her death in 2014. In 1989, the Chicago Theological Seminary conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of Tom’s “excellence in urban ministry.” His children and grandchildren are members, and Tom continues as church historian and a vital presence at St. Pauls – an experience-filled bridge between our past and future.
Kurt R. Hansen
Director of Music
Kurt was formerly a professional opera singer who performed on four continents (including as a sololist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the 75th birthday of Sir Georg Solti). He now leads our eclectic music program of classical, choral, jazz, gospel and youth music – when he’s not found at Northwestern University, as senior lecturer and Coordinator of the Voice and Opera Program in the Bienen School of Music. He and his wife Terry Brancaccio Hansen, also on voice faculty at Northwestern, have two sons (often heard in worship) and live in Glenview, northwest of Chicago.
Kevin is our exceptional organist, and an equally gifted pianist. Prior to St. Pauls, he was Director of Music at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Northfield, Illinois where, in addition to serving as organist, he directed three choirs, and founded an RSCM- based Girls Choir. A Pi Kappa Lambda graduate from Northwestern University with degrees including BMus (Church Music) and MMus (Organ Performance), he has studied with many prominent organ and piano teachers. Kevin lives in Downers Grove.
Director of Operations
Maddy brings a decade of account/project management, special event management, and commercial property management to her role managing the multi-faceted operations of St. Pauls. A long-time volunteer in animal- and child-related nonprofits, and a life-long Chicago resident, Maddy lives in Chicago’s East Lakeview neighborhood.
Administrative Assistant and Database Manager
Claire attended North Park University in Chicago to study philosophy, and was introduced to St. Pauls through her friend and predecessor, Anna Sardar-Bauer. In her spare time, Claire enjoys being with friends, hiking, and reading. She’s always looking for new things to do in the city, so if you have any suggestions, let her know!
Director of Little Lights, Early Childhood program
Erin is a native of Detroit who came to Chicago to get her BA in Psychology from DePaul, with a concentration in Human Development. In addition to being the Director of Little Lights, Erin is also the lead second grade teacher. She says that “there is no greater joy than seeing a smile on a child’s face, especially as he/she overcomes an obstacle or learns something new.”
Fernando is originally from Chicago, and currently lives in Evergreen Park. He has more than 17 years of experience in building maintenance. “After work,” Fernando says, “I’m a stay-at-home dad.” He enjoys exercising, weekend cook-outs, and is an avid coin collector. Fernando has 3 grown children.
Ramiro went to school to study small business, and was a restaurant consultant and cook for 20 years. He was then a supervisor at Michelin Industries in Las Vegas. In 2012, he moved to Chicago where he has six siblings.At St. Pauls he can be counted on to help with anything and everything, always with a smile. Ramiro enjoys walks in his neighborhood, nature, and animals – especially his pet birds.