Established July 24, 1859.
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest recently celebrated 150 years of worshipping God along Chicago’s North Shore. Moving forward, we reflect on what makes First Presbyterian Church a welcoming place. Worshipping together is the most important way we express our faith. Generations of families sit side by side in our beloved sanctuary. After “a word for children,” there’s a stampede to Sunday School! Happily, we welcome many young families.
Although we love our choirs and handbells, new forms of music and worship enhance Sunday mornings. We sing with a gospel choir, learn the Gloria Patri to the beat of an African drum and hear the upbeat sounds of Eggs Benediction, a high school ensemble. A casual ‘emergent-style’ Sunday night service called, first@five, is followed by dinner and welcomes local college students, families and others seeking a different time or style of worship.
Our church family connects with a full calendar, which for youth includes Middle School Youth Group, Eighth Grade Confirmation, Senior High Youth Group, and an enormous Work Trip, which is a hands-on mission experience with dozens of energetic students and advisors. It transforms the lives of all who participate. Drawing upon the talents of ministers/ members, we strive to be vibrant and sensitive to change. We are blessed with a creative and committed congregation.
Mission and outreach are part of the DNA at First Church. We raise and send out over $500,000 every year to local and global mission partners and dig in as volunteers and leaders with our time and talents as well. Our 1800-member church is led by five pastors and many creative and talented lay people. Our Senior Pastor is in her fourth year and has set a collegial tone within our congregation. Rev. Chakoian and our leaders have laid a framework for expanding and strengthening a community grounded in faith. This is an exciting place to work and learn.
We have 1800+ members ranging from families (often with several children) to elderly adults; also a strong outreach to Lake Forest College students. Our predominately Caucasian congregation exists in a community where success is highly valued. Although the community has a reputation for its affluence, members come from across the socio-economic spectrum and are diverse in their religious background, political affiliation and theological orientation. This is a much ‘bigger tent’ than it first appears.
One of the benefits of doing a field site at a large, multi-staff church is the opportunity to explore a wide variety of ministries over the course of the year. Historically, many of students have worked with children, youth and families. This is a prime opportunity to be in parish ministry with an emphasis on lifelong Faith Formation, beginning with baptism counseling and continuing through Sunday School, middle school youth group, confirmation, high school youth group, and adult education. This individual will be a regular presence in Youth Chapel (weekly worship for middle schoolers) and a leader in Sunday youth group, periodically developing lesson plans and coordinating mission and fellowship opportunities; occasional retreats and special events with children and youth will further allow this person to offer pastoral care and support to families. Depending on interest, there are opportunities to plan and lead children’s worship as well, and/or teach in the Sunday School.
This year there will also be an option to focus more on worship and/or mission programs because the supervisor, Corey Nelson, coordinates those teams at First Church. Exploring multiple styles of worship and engaging our congregation in more hands-on mission are ongoing priorities where a student can get great hands-on learning experience that is relevant to the challenges facing the larger church across the country. Ample opportunities exist for teaching, worship leadership and preaching (in traditional worship and in our emergent service, first@five), as well as the unique opportunity to experience the dynamics of working with a sizeable staff on a broad campus. We are an active church and there are opportunities to experience everything! Depending on the student’s interests and goals, the internship could also include pastoral care/home & hospital visits, outreach with one of our many mission partners, and regular worship leadership (in our traditional morning services and at first@five).
We would love to serve with a student who is authentic and accessible to the entire congregation. He/she would bring regular questions and experiences to weekly theological reflection, seeking to integrate the practical work of ministry with the learning of seminary.
Our Associate Pastor of Mission, the Reverend Corey Nelson, will be your supervisor.
Corey served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Northern Ireland and Ghana and on the staff of Worldwide Ministries Division as a mission educator and worship leader. He is married to Rev. Melissa Earley, a United Methodist pastor serving in Northbrook, IL. Corey states that he “uses humor for building community, bakes cookies and breaks bread to extend hospitality, meets new people and explores new terrain to expand his horizons.”
Lake Forest is a northern suburb of Chicago (approximately 35 miles from Hyde Park) that is easily accessible from major expressways. From US-41, go east on Deerpath Road and proceed approximately 1.4 miles into downtown Lake Forest. Cross the railroad tracks and proceed to church approx .5 miles on left. The Metra Union Pacific/North line stops at the Lake Forest train station and is a 5 minute walk from the church. Compensation for field site students includes a stipend for a Zip car two days a week.