First Congregational Church of Wilmette | Our Staff

Our Staff

Stephanie Perdew VanSlyke, M.Div., Ph.D.

Senior Pastor

FCCW TN 09132015DSC_0453_040-aStephanie has served as Senior Pastor since November 2004. A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, and life- long member of the United Church of Christ, she was ordained in the Nebraska Conference, UCC. Stephanie earned her B.A. in religion and women’s studies from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, and her M.Div. from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois. Her passion for worship that is prophetic, pastoral and historically grounded led her back to Garrett-Evangelical, where she earned her Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies and Early Christian History. Stephanie is a co-author of The Work of the People: What we do in Worship and Why (Alban Institute, 2007). Her service to the wider church focuses on preparing seminary students to be thoughtful ministers and effective worship leaders. She serves as Affiliate Faculty in Christian History at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary where she teaches courses in early Christian history and Medieval and Reformed church history. She is the president of the Liturgical Conference, which oversees the journal Liturgy. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, golf, and mystery novels. Stephanie is married to Todd VanSlyke, who’s is recently retired from a career as past owner of an advertising agency, and professor of management and marketing. Together they enjoy traveling by train or motorcycle, cooking together, and cheering for the Northwestern Wildcats football team, except when Nebraska comes to town, at which point theirs is a Big Ten house divided.

Jason Okrzynski, M.Div., Ph.D.

Director of Christian Education for Children, Youth & Families

JasonJason brings to FCCW over fifteen years of ministry experience in a variety of roles including youth minister, associate pastor, and theologian in residence. He earned his B.A. in Religious Studies from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, Master of Divinity at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and a Ph.D. in Christian Education and Congregational Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Jason feels especially called by his interests in faith formation, social co-operation in the public world, and the rapidly changing religious landscape in America. Service-learning has been a significant influence on Jason’s life, and he has led national and international service-learning/mission trips. He and his wife Maren, and their two little adventurers Dylan (6) and Soren (4), live in Glenview. Jason enjoys sharing a love of backpacking, music, and popular culture with his family, and with youth.

Kurt Mockenhaupt, B.M.

Director of Music

mockenhauptKurt is director of music and organist at First Congregational Church. He plays for all worship services, and directs the Chancel Choir and Handbell Choir. With 30 years of church music experience, Kurt served three churches before coming to First Congregational: Granville Avenue United Methodist Church in Chicago, Berry Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago and St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Skokie, Illinois. Kurt holds a Bachelor of Music in Education from DePaul University and taught general music (K-8) for eight years. He is a member of The Agape Ringers, an auditioned community handbell ensemble from the greater Chicago area, and has served on the state committee for Area VIII of The American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR).

David Hogue, M.Div., Ph.D.

Men’s Ministry Facilitator 

davidDavid leads a monthly men’s gathering and an annual men’s retreat. In addition, he periodically presides in worship and preaches on Sunday mornings. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), David is a pastoral counselor and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Garrett- Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, where he teaches courses in pastoral care and counseling, marriage and family counseling, ritual studies, and theology and science. His most recent book Remembering the Future, Imagining the Past: Story, Ritual, and the Human Brain (Pilgrim Press, 2003), draws on the brain sciences for a deeper understanding of worship and pastoral care. 


Daniel Smith, M.T.S., M.A.

Church Administrator

Daniel Smith joined the FCCW staff in July 2015. He brings to FCCW several years of administrative experience in churches, libraries, and institutions of higher education. He is passionate about supporting the ministries of local churches. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Religion and Philosophy at Martin Methodist College as well as a Master of Theological Studies in Church History and a Master of Arts in Christian Education at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. As his accent attests, he is originally from Tennessee and enjoys visiting his family whenever possible. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with friends, watching movies, trying new restaurants, and exploring Chicagoland.