At St. Philip the Deacon since: 2009
What is your faith background? Jill grew up in Chicago with a Lutheran background — a long history of German Lutherans for many generations. Tom grew up in East Moline, Illinois, going to a Presbyterian church. We met at Valparaiso University in Indiana.
What is your professional background and experience? Jill is a Registered Nurse for an area health network, working primarily in Emergency Nursing. She is also starting a Master’s degree in Nursing Education. Tom is the CIO of a locally based global coatings manufacturer.
How are you involved at St. Philip the Deacon? We moved here after five years in Tokyo, Japan. Some long-time members of St. Philip the Deacon who we became great friends with in Tokyo — Chris and Jolynn Gardner — recommended the church to us after we moved back to the States. Tom has been active in Friends of St. Philip. Jill has been active with Middle School Ministry, starting a parents of teens support book group. Together, we ran the 9th grade house group last year.
What is something you love about St. Philip the Deacon? We immediately fell in love with St. Philip after getting involved with the youth ministry. The kids actually liked going to Confirmation and that was incentive to keep going.
Have you ever been surprised by God? If so, how? Jill: After living abroad for so long, I saw God in so many other religions. I saw wonderful, faithful acts and realized that no matter your religious affiliation, God works through the goodness of people of all faiths. Tom: I am surprised by God in all parts of life. He is there to guide us through the most difficult/impossible times through his unconditional love and the awe-imspiring beauty of “mother nature.”
If you could meet God face-to-face, what would you want to ask or say? Jill: I would want to know if all faiths are part of God’s love and acceptance, not just Christianity. Tom: Thank you for teaching me to live life by accepting and dealing with problems and, in doing so, creating real joy.