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.


Wegner_Dave.pngDavid W. Wegner, Associate Pastor
It is a joy to serve in God’s kingdom with the people at Grace! I hope to connect the gifts of people with the needs of the community and world around us – setting a collision course that makes a positive difference and proclaims Christ in our midst. I enjoy teaching, leading worship, and visioning new and faithful ways to connect the Sunday morning experience with daily life for people of all ages. I graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 2010 and Valparaiso University in 2005. I will always call North Carolina home but love the Midwest and the Chicago area - an exciting day trip during my undergraduate years. I am married to Pastor Lauren Wegner; we have two children, Owen and Caroline, and a black lab, Sophie. My interests and hobbies include aviation, tinkering with computers, building flat-pack furniture, kayaking, and biking.



Wegner_Lauren.pngLauren Dow Wegner, Associate Pastor
I am excited and honored that God has called me to serve on the pastoral team at Grace!  I am passionate about sharing the abundance of God's grace with all people, and I find that God has called me to do that through deep and meaningful relationships with others.  My particular call here includes oversight and pastoral support of our youth and family ministry, and I love walking alongside people of all ages in our baptismal journey.  I received a master of divinity with honors from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 2010 and a BA from Texas Lutheran University in 2003. My husband, Pastor Dave Wegner, and I served together in our previous call in Raleigh, NC.  I enjoy playing flute and guitar, writing songs, frequenting local coffee shops and thrift stores and, most of all, spending time with Dave and our children, Owen and Caroline.


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.


McClanahan.jpgJim McClanahan, Director of Administration and Finance
I have been a member of Grace for over 20 years, during which I was active on Stewardship, Trustees, Endowment, and Board of Finance, and on Church Council as Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. I am excited about continuing to serve Grace in my role as Director of Administration and Finance. I am a Certified Public Accountant. I previously spent over 35 years in public accounting helping organizations with the accuracy of their financial records and reports, and consulting with them about the quality of their financial processes and their compliance with rules and regulations. I grew up in the Cleveland area and attended Miami University in Ohio. My wife, Beth Smoots, is also an active Grace member. We are the proud parents of two former Grace School students. Pierce works in Chicago for the international accounting firm of Ernst & Young and Annie attends Hamilton College in New York. I also serve on the Foundation and Charitable Boards of Bethesda Rehab and Senior Care. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, gardening and reading.

ANDREW-JANE-13_(1).jpgJane Marie Andrew, Business Office
I work two days a week in the Business Office, where I record contributions, pay invoices, and process the church and school payroll. I continue to marvel at how much happens behind the scenes at Grace Church and School. I’ve attended Grace since 1994 and became a member in 2004. In recent years, I've found my niche in community with the Social Ministry Committee, the Religion in Literature book group, the counters, and the pillowcase and prayer shawl makers. On the days I’m not at Grace, I’m a freelance writer and editor, focused on science and technology.



Christopher.jpgKaren 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 middle school. 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.  



Gotsch.jpgGwen 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 middle school and high school age girls 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, Kris, Eliza and Kurt Grahnke. When I'm not at Grace singing or working on communications projects, I like to knit, read, and occasionally direct plays.


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.

Offermann.jpgVerna 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.