Dr. Harry Parker, Senior Pastor
Senior Pastor since 1990, Dr. Parker received degrees from Kalamazoo College, Northern Baptist Seminary, and Pittsburgh Seminary with additional studies at Jacob Hiatt Institute of Brandeis University in Jerusalem, Marquette University, and Jerusalem College. He enjoys running, swimming, and “tinkering” with automobiles. He seeks to offer sermon messages that are relevant and engaging as they proclaim God’s grace and call to new life. “I invite you to join us at First Baptist. Here you will find a church that seeks to extend a warm welcome and offer a message of Grace.”
Rev. Monroe Saffold, Welcome Minister
Our Welcome Minister Rev. Saffold's professional career has been in education, teaching at both Oak Park/River Forest High School and at Lane Tech. He has graduated from North Park Seminary with a Master of Arts and Christian Ministry. He is now attending Northern Baptist Seminary to completing his degree work for a Master of Divinity with possible Ph.D.work. Monroe is also an accomplished pianist. He as been active in Bible Study Fellowship and in leading small group Bible study. His greatest claim to fame is winning the Mr. America crown for body-building in 1992.
Joel Raney, Minister of MusicJoel has a degree in choral conducting from the University of North Alabama and a masters degree in piano performance from Juilliard. He has a deep passion for church music of all styles, with a background that includes work as a conductor of musical theater, and a composer of music for film and television. He is an editor for Hope Publishing Company, with numerous choral, keyboard, handbell, and instrumental compositions in print. Joel also keeps busy performing concerts, as well as leading choral and keyboard workshops at churches around the country.
Lauren Visser, Minister of Youth and Young AdultsLauren is our newest staff member, joining the team in 2013. She is a graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, where she triple majored and discovered that she functioned pretty well on a lack of sleep. She also has a Master of Divinity from Northern Seminary with an emphasis in Old Testament. Lauren loves to travel, read, sing, write, do athletic things, and avoid getting injured. (That last one is harder than you might think.) It is one of her greatest joys to work with youth and help them know God on a deeper level.
John Hyndman, Building Manager
As Building Manager, John brings a host of gifts from God to further His Kingdom at our church. He studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Previous travels to Italy inspired him in architectural restoration for 17 years before his position as Building Manager. He also is the Director of the Hand Bell Choir for both the Chancel Hand Bells (9th grade to Adult) and Junior Hand Bell Choir (5th thru 8th grade).
Elaine Tuber, Financial Secretary
Elaine has been a member of First Baptist since 1990. She retired in 2014 from a 32-year sales career in the paper business with Xpedx. Her hobbies are very divers, from golf to flower arranging, decorating and design, along with most hands-on projects. Her most important outreach is serving as a Stephen Minister, a program that walks alongside of people who are going through a difficult time in their lives. She has a wonderful husband, Michael, of 22 years, and a dog.
Mary Lee Eneberg, Office Administrator
Mary Lee Eneberg has served as our Office Administrator since 1992. She is a graduate of Illinois State University in theater and served as program coordinator at the Illinois Arts Council in Chicago. She was also the general manager of her family business, ArtGolf. In addition, she is the director of our church’s five-scene live nativity, Journey to Bethlehem, and directs a hundred-plus cast and crew members, sheep, goats, a donkey, and a camel.
Barbara Branch, Preschool & Kindergarten Director
Director of Preschool & Kindergarten, Barbara grew up in Maywood, Illinois and graduated from Proviso East High School. She attended U of I/ Chicago and graduated from Denver University. She has been the preschool’s Director for five years. “I strongly believe that we provide an important Christian ministry for our children. Their physical and spiritual development is of equal importance to us.
Ricardo Zela, Sexton
A native of Peru, Ricardo has been in the United States for 19 years. He serves as our Church Sexton, Security, Van Driver for our Preschool & Kindergarten, and assists with our building maintenance. Ricardo is an avid fan of soccer. He also enjoys reading.