Our Church: Staff



Church Staff



Staff Profiles

For a directory of phone extensions and emails, click here.

Staff_Lyle.jpgDavid R. Lyle, Senior Pastor
I have been serving as the senior pastor at Grace since August, 2015. It is a great joy to partner with the people of Grace in the work of bringing in, building up, and sending out people for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am passionate about proclaiming Christ and his kingdom through Word and sacrament. It is a joy to help people see how the Spirit is moving in their lives. Prior to my arrival at Grace, I served congregations in Pawleys Island, S.C., and Appleton, Wis. I also spent four summers doing outdoor ministry at several Lutheran camps and have extensive experience in youth ministry. I hold degrees from The College of William & Mary and Luther Seminary. As the recipient of Luther’s Graduate Preaching Fellowship, I spent nine months as a Visiting Scholar with the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. My wife, Erika, and I reside in Oak Park with our three children, Greta, Anders, and Torsten. I am an avid sports fan, cheering on the Kansas City Royals, Green Bay Packers, and Wisconsin Badgers and, in my free time, enjoy reading, running, and playing guitar.


KERSTEN-PHYLLIS-51_copy.jpgPhyllis N. Kersten, Interim Associate Pastor
I served as Associate Pastor of Grace for 12 years, from 1996-2008. I especially enjoyed leading several women’s Bible studies and being part of a small group of women from Grace who tutored women at the Cook County jail. Following my retirement from Grace, I served eight months as interim pastor at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church on the north side of Chicago and then for over a year as the interim ELCA pastor at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University in Indiana. Since April 2015, I have been back at Grace as interim Associate Pastor. I have written for the “Living by the Word” column of Christian Century magazine, and co-authored two Bible studies for women, Talented, Tired, Beautiful Feet (Concordia Publishing House) and Companions on Your Journey (Women of the ELCA, Augsburg). I have also served as a facilitator for first-call pastors in the Metro Chicago Synod, ELCA. 


Staff_Costello.jpgMichael D. Costello, Cantor
As the cantor at Grace, my primary job is to lead congregational singing. I do this by playing the organ, directing choirs, serving as an educator, coordinating music with other staff members, and working with others to lead the Bach Cantata Vespers. I grew up in a Lutheran church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I received my bachelor of arts in sacred music from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, and my master of divinity at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, where I also served on the adjunct faculty in music and liturgy. I am a Lutheran pastor, have served congregations in Pennsylvania and the Carolinas as a musician, and also served as a pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Columbia, South Carolina. I am married to Rebekah Weant Costello, also a Lutheran pastor. We have two children, Andrew and Lydia..


Bostrom.jpgLars Bostrom, Director of Administration and Finance
It has been my pleasure to serve at Grace since the fall of 2005. I am a Certified Public Accountant and have worked previously as Director of Accounting and Controller of the ELCA Foundation and also as an officer of an international engineering and construction company headquartered in Cleveland. I grew up in Ohio and am a graduate of Wittenberg University. I am married to Linda Bostrom and we are proud of our adult children, Charles(former Grace building host) and Anne.



Karen Christopher, Administrative Assistant to the Pastoral Staff
I have been working as the church administrative assistant since July 2010. Congregation members know me best as the person to whom they contact for help with The City, church boards and committee information, as well as Prayer List updates. I grew up in White Plains, NY, and Park Forest, IL, and went to Manchester College in North Manchester, IN, where I earned a degree in secretarial studies. Prior to settling in Oak Park in 1995, I spent six years in Buffalo, NY.  I have a son who is in sixth grade. He keeps me busy with his soccer teams and other sports activities. In my free time, I enjoy trying new recipes, reading and being with friends.  

Gwen Gotsch, GLCS Communications Coordinator, Joyful Voices and Youth Choir Director
I oversee church and school communications at Grace, especially the web site. I also lead Grace's Joyful Voices, a choir for children in grades 1-4 that rehearses on Wednesday evenings. At Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, I majored in music and theater and went to graduate school in theater at Indiana University in Bloomington. I worked for La Leche League International for many years, writing and editing promotional materials, as well as books on parenting and breastfeeding. I have three grown-up children. When I'm not at Grace singing or working on communications projects, I like to knit, read, and direct plays for Tuesday's Child, a drama group based at Grace.

Kruck.jpgJeffrey Logan Kruck, Director of Youth and Family Ministry
I accepted the position of Director of Youth and Family in September, 2012.  I partner with the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church to plan and practice faith development for members ages 0 to 25, including children's Sunday School, middle-school catechesis, and high-school youth activities. Faith development deals with both teaching and practice so that the Gospel of Jesus becomes the pattern for our lives.  I was raised in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and received my bachelor's degree in theology and ministry from Southern Nazarene University.  I also studied at Duke Divinity School and received my Master's of Theological Studies in Old Testament.  I have worked as a youth pastor, high school history teacher, and as an English teacher in South Korea.  I am married to Kathleena Kruck, who is currently studying law at Northwestern Law School. I am an avid comic book reader and collector, a runner, and addicted to reading academic theology and wisdom literature.   

Mortensen.jpgLyle Mortensen, Technology Administrator
After spending my elementary years as a student at Grace School I continued through the Lutheran educational system at Walther and Concordia, River Forest. I received my first call as a junior high teacher to Grace in 1973 and remained in the classroom until I became the technology administrator for church and school in 2002.  

Staff_Modrich.jpgJulie Modrich, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
I have been blessed to serve as Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Grace since July, 2013. Working closely with the Children’s Religious Education Committee (CREC), I coordinate programs and activities for Sunday School, family devotionals, festivals, Mustard Seeds and Vacation Bible School. I truly enjoy working with elementary-age children. My husband, Joe, and I came to Grace in the fall of 2000, and our four children, Stefan, Anna, Katarina and Peter, were baptized here in January, 2001. Before joining the Grace staff I was a volunteer teacher in Sunday School and Confirmation classes, and I currently serve on the Altar Guild. I graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in Parks and Recreation Administration. My professional career began at Little City Foundation in Palatine working in aquatics with special populations from children through seniors. I also have served as the Aquatics and Fitness Coordinators for the Niles and Des Plaines park districts. When our oldest son was born, I changed career direction and began teaching preschool and mom and tot classes. In addition to working at Grace, I am an active substitute teacher in the Franklin Park and River Grove public school districts.

Dan Muriello, Property Manager
I supervise the maintenance and use of the Grace building. Working closely with the Trustees, I'm involved in everything from renovation projects and recycling to scheduling and cleaning. When people on church committees and boards plan a meal or meeting in Fellowship Hall, I make sure the chairs and tables are set up and there's a staff person at the front desk to greet visitors.

Verna Offermann, Reception Desk
I was baptized at Grace, attended Grace School, and was confirmed and married here too. I married Donald and raised four great children, the last one attended Grace School also.  I have worked at Grace as a room mother, teaching assistant to Maureen O’Connor, Market Day co-coordinator, Sunday School teacher and in many other volunteer positions in church and school. Now I work at the reception desk three days a week. The best part ofworking at the front desk is seeing all the children come into school, most of them smiling. 

VanHeukelem.jpgBarb VanHeukelem, Reception Desk
I have been a member of the Grace community for over 20 years, as a school parent, church member, and volunteer. Working at the reception desk at Grace, I enjoy the opportunity to assist our staff, committees and many volunteers as they carry out the ministries of Grace Church and School. I serve on Altar Guild and also enjoy cooking for the Cornerstones group. I have a B.A. from Calvin College and was previously employed in mental health and social services. My husband, Bruce and I are the parents of three adult daughters who are graduates of Grace School and the grandparents of one grandson.