Who We Are

Our History

Few churches get their start in a rail car, but that is exactly where our congregation began.  In 1884, Edwin Orlando Nichols, a man of earnest faith decided churches in Itasca needed a Sunday School.  Knowing the Itasca Accommodation train stood unused every weekend, Mr. Nichols organized a Sunday school in the train car.  In 1885, 26 Christian workers petitioned the Chicago Presbytery to turn the railcar Sunday school into a church.  On October 25, 1885, Reverend E.R. Davis preached the initial sermon just south of the church's present location at 207 East Center Street.  By the time the first resident pastor was installed in February 1921, the church membership was up to 60.


In 1950 the congregation had grown to 265 and ground was broken for the current structure.  In May 1952 the new house of worship was dedicated.  Ten years later, the education wing was dedicated.  The vision of Mr. Nichols 75 years earlier, had come a long way from those initial meetings in a rail car.


Today, some members still remember the building of the church in the 1950's; others in our congregation were not even a twinkle in their parent's eyes so long ago.  We are diverse in many ways, including in our thoughts and opinions.  We are still a small congregation and our church continues in its history of ministry to its members, its community and the world.



Our Staff

Pastor Michele Monroe-Clark

Office Hours:  Tuesday:  9AM-5PM, Thursday:  7 - 10 PM.

630.773.9606  X 3

pastor@fpitasca.org

Michele earned her Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan in 2004.  She also holds a Master's degree from Loyola University in Social Work.  She is an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker).  For 10 years, she worked as a hospital chaplain.  During her off time, she loves to read, write (she journals), bike and swim.  Paradise to her is "living on a beach". 


"My vision/hope for my time at First Presbyterian Church of Itasca is to strengthen and deepen the faith of members and visitors (through worship, bible study/Sunday school for adults and children), to help the church officers understand and live into their roles and responsibilities as elders and deacons (being present at their meetings to provide leadership as well as leading additional training retreats), to develop and implement a mission/outreach ministry to the local or global community to participate in the community and fellowship of the church strengthening and valuing the bonds of friendship and practicing hospitality to our neighbors."

Clerk of Session: Jerilyn Willin

Jerilyn Willin has been a member of First Presbyterian Church since 2004.  She first served as an Elder from 2006-2012 and then re-upped in 2014.  Along with being a member of the Session, she was a founding member of the church's Resurrection Resale Shop.


Jerilyn works as a leadership development consultant and career coach.  She also teaches at DePaul University.  Jerilyn holds master's degrees in Counseling Psychology (George William's College) and Industrial Relations (Loyola University/Chicago).

Church Administrator and Music Director: Patsy Ihrke

Office Hours:  Monday - Wednesday 9AM - 3 PM

630.773.9606  X 1

office@fpitasca.org

Patsy Ihrke has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church since 1989.  She has served in the role of Deacon and Elder, and currently serves as the Church Administrator and Music Director.  Patsy graduated from Winona State University, Winona MN with a B.S. Music in Depth.  Prior to her current administrative position, Patsy was the Billing and Operations Manager for GE North American Life & Health Insurance. Her role there encompassed financial administration, project management and training.  


Patsy has also served as organist, pianist, children's and adult music director at churches in Minnesota and Arkansas.  Patsy is a vocalist, and plays piano, organ, flute, guitar, banjo and mandolin.

Financial Secretary: Ken Naatz

Ken Naatz has been a member of First Presbyterian Church for 35 years and the Financial Secretary for 16 years.  He has previously served as a Deacon and Elder.


Ken works for Watson & Associates; a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.  Previously, Ken spent 32 years at McDonald's Corporation mainly in the employee benefits area, where he met his wife Kathy.  Ken has a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and an MBA from DePaul University.

Financial Treasurer: Ted Gault

Ted Gault has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church since 1979 and Financial Treasurer since 2017.  He has previously served as a Trustee and as Elder.


Ted is retired but was formerly employed as the Chief Financial Officer of a number of manufacturing companies in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Ted is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his BBA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Masters of Accounting Science fom the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Wedding Coordinators

Our Wedding Coordinators are Laurie Seames and Jerilyn Willin.

Presbyterian 101

Just who are Presbyterians?

Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.


Our name, "Presbyterian," is rooted in the Greek word presbuteros, which means "elder."  This etymology defines our system of church government, structured around a group of elders elected by the congregation - the same system of government upon which our country's democratic philosophies were founded.


As Protestent Christians, we accept the authority of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, and profess our faith in God, who is known to us as the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Our faith has been especially influenced by the Protestant Reformation, specifically by leaders such as John Calvin and John Knox.  We strongly believe in the key elements of the Protestant Reformation:  salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, the authority of the Bible for faith and life, and our individual duty to be a minister of Christ at all times and in all places.  It is up to each individual to determine how to apply these principles in his or her own life.


Above all else, it is our mission to share the love of God through Jesus Christ through word and deed.  Presbyterians spread the love of God throughout the world by emphasizing the need for worship, developing new churches, and by fostering mission activities.  We respond to disaster situations, minister to the sick and the needy, and educate new generations of Christian men and women to continue our legacy of service to God and the community.


Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation  Our heritage and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystalized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.