Pastor Allison Bengfort has been serving St. John’s since November of 2018. She is passionate about helping congregation members develop a theology that is intellectually satisfying, engage in spiritual practices that are grounding, build relationships that are meaningful, and live out the gospel through acts of justice and service in the world.
Pastor Allison grew up in Davenport, IA, where she developed an early love of church and passion for theology and justice. After studying religion at St. Olaf College, Allison worked for two years as a social worker in Minneapolis, MN. During those years, she held positions at a food shelf, a youth homeless shelter, and a center for victims of sexual violence. From there, she moved to Chicago to pursue a dual master’s program, which culminated in her receiving a Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago and a Master of Divinity from LSTC. In 2016, Allison moved to Seattle, WA, for a pastoral internship. During this time, she developed strengths in preaching, youth and family ministry, and community organizing. In 2018, she became an active member of Proclaim, a professional group of LGBTQ Lutheran clergy, who support her as a bisexual church leader.
During her Sabbath time, Pastor Allison tries to be outside as much as possible. She enjoys reading, camping, biking, running, and playing Ultimate Frisbee, and she is a long-time lover of Lake Michigan. Allison has been playing the violin since she was five years old, and she likes both teaching and playing music with friends. Pastor Allison adores good food, and she would love to get to know you over a meal, hot chocolate, or creative cocktails.
Robert McConnell has built a dynamic career as an organist, a conductor, and a composer. Most recently, he has conducted performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Calyx Vocal Ensemble (April 2019), and the St. John Passion with the Oregon Bach Festival (July 2017). He has also conducted with Lyric Opera of Chicago's Opera in the Neighborhoods Program, the DePaul School of Music Opera Theater, the Northwestern Opera Theater, Door County's Peninsula Music Festival, the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Since 2016, he has served as a cover and guest conductor for Chicago's Joffrey Ballet. He received his doctorate from Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music where he studied organ with Margaret Kemper and conducting with Victor Yampolsky.
Robert has served as Music Director and Organist at St. John’s since 2010. His contribution to the music offerings at St. John’s have mixed a deep appreciation of the traditional sacred music of the Lutheran church with more contemporary trends. Soli Deo Gloria.
Jan Wendel has been the Administrative Assistant here at St. John’s since 1990. Jan's ties to St. John's go back well before that, though. No less than 5 generations of Jan's family have been members of St. John's, and she herself has been a life-long member.
Jan’s greatest joy in her job is working with a great team of people, as well as all the wonderful people of St. John’s. Every day is different and each day is a blessing.