Kipp Cortez
Interim Parish Musician
Originally from the nearby suburb of La Grange Park, Kipp  Cortez first came to Grace in 2006 to study organ with Dennis Northway. Little did he realize that there is way more to it than just being a good organist. He was in madrigals, assisted with the Schola choir, helped begin the Concerts at 6:26 series, and acted as guest musician on numerous occasions. These experiences shaped who he is as a believer, musician, and human. He is very excited to return to Grace Church to act as Interim Parish Musician. Anyone wishing to be a part of this great ministry at Grace Church should see him.  
 
Previously, Dr. Cortez was on the faculty at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia as the Joseph F. Marsh Endowed Chair of Organ and Carillon, the only endowed, named professorship at the university. He taught music appreciation, upper level music history, and private lessons in both organ and carillon. He regularly performed on both instruments for university convocations and other special events. He was a pledging member at Christ Episcopal Church in Bluefield, WV where he served as a chalicist, lay reader, and acolyte and was active in the church’s food pantry ministry. He also briefly served as Director of Music Ministries at the First United Methodist Church in Princeton, WV.
 

He took degrees in organ and sacred music at Valparaiso University (B.Mus) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (M.Mus and DMA). His organ teachers were Lorraine Brugh, Marilyn Mason, and James Kibbie. During the course of his Masters degree, he decided that only one large, loud, building-sized musical instrument was not enough and began learning to play the carillon. He holds Carillonneur Membership in the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. 


He lives in River Forest and gladly walks to work.

Douglas VanHouten
Administrator
Douglas is responsible for communications (including our website and Facebook page), finance, facilities rental, scheduling, and along with the rest of the staff consults around visioning and programming at Grace.  If you have a question about your pledge balance, a reimbursement check, scheduling an event, Grace's website, a building issue, holding a concert or program at Grace, submitting an online registration form for formation programs, donating online, Douglas is your go-to person. 

Douglas served on the Commission on Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago for a six-year term and was the first layperson ever appointed by the bishop as its vice-chair.  He has a deep passion for discernment of gifts and ministries.  He is a firm believer that all baptized persons are ministers and therefore takes great delight in watching and helping others find ways they might best offer their gifts and talents toward the building of community.

A Colorado native, Douglas—an avid skier, hiker and biker—is still looking for the mountains in Illinois when he's not busy gushing about his two nieces or puttering about his garden and pond.  Douglas is married to an Episcopal priest.

The Vestry is the body within a congregation that, with the clergy, leads the parish. Grace’s Vestry meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday at 7:00 pm, usually in the St. Hilda Room (2nd floor of the Parish House). In addition the Vestry periodically schedules additional and/or special meetings as needed. ALL Vestry meetings are open to members of the Congregation.  The schedule for Vestry meetings is at this link.

Staff

Deborah Maue is a life-long amateur singer and pianist. She has been a member of church choirs since the age of six, and currently sings soprano in the Liturgical Choir of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, where she also serves on the vestry. Deb and her husband, Terry, live in Oak Park with kids: Emma (a future law school student), David (a freshman at OPRF and a member of the Madrigal Choir), and Margaret (a 7th grader at Julian Middle School and a member of the Schola Choir). She has a B.S. in Marketing from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University. For the last 12 years, Deb has served in senior marketing positions in higher education and is currently the VP for Marketing and Communications at Aurora University in Aurora, IL. She is very excited to be assisting with the youth choirs of Grace Church, because (among other reasons) it will force her teenage children to interact with her.

Vestry & Officers

Andrea Bartolomeo is an educator, organist, pianist, and pastoral musician. She has been accompanying choirs and instrumentalists since the age of 14 and is known for her sensitivity as a collaborative musician. She is on the piano faculty at Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College and serves as Associate Director of Music/Organist at St. Paul of the Cross Church, Park Ridge where she is the primary accompanist for the adult choir.


Andrea graduated from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH with a B.Mus. in Piano Performance, where she specialized in pedagogy and collaborative piano. At BGSU, she continued with graduate studies in Organ Performance and Church Music.


Ms. Bartolomeo has over 25 years of teaching experience in the private and small group setting. After operating a successful home studio of over 100 students, she and her husband, Luke founded and directed the Music Schools of Northwest Ohio (Perrysburg, Sylvania, and Findlay). In her role as artistic director, Andrea planned educational programs (recitals,
masterclasses, and outreach programs) to provide valuable performance and service opportunities for their students in local nursing homes, senior centers, and libraries. As a piano duettist, Andrea performed with her husband, Luke, in Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and Illinois.


For the past several years, she has delighted in attending rehearsals, Cleveland tour, and other events of the Schola choir with her 4th-grader, Gigi. There is nothing greater than being in the presence of dynamic, friendly kids, who love to sing together!


Thank you, Rev. Mary, Dennis, and Grace Episcopal Church, for this wonderful opportunity to assist the youth of our community!

Jonathan Baumgarten
Deacon

Jon has been a member of Grace since 1982, and has served as a deacon at Grace since 2004.  His main work at Grace is to encourage and enable the people of Grace to help the needy, whether inside the parish, or in our neighborhoods, our region, our nation, or the world.


Jon serves as a volunteer in the church.  Outside the church, he is a Senior Software Developer at the Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago.  (If you're having trouble falling asleep, ask him to explain the intricacies of unemployment benefits for railroad workers.)  He has worked there for over 30 years, and has occupied cubicles within a 50 foot radius on the same floor since 1988.


Jon is married to Marion.  They have two adult children, Martha and Peter, who both live in Chicago.

Zac Lowing
Sexton

Zac joined the staff as our Sexton in 2015.  In addition to his many other talents, Zac is an accomplished artist.  Some of his work may be found at this link.

Andrea Bartolomeo (on left in photo) and Deborah Maue
Co-Administrators and   Co-Associate Conductors of Grace’s Schola and Madrigal choirs

Mary Slenski
Interim Rector
The Rev. Mary Slenski comes to Grace Church from the Diocese of Indianapolis.  She finds joy in working with congregations in transition as they claim the blessings and embrace the future God most desires for them.  Grace Church is her fourth appointment as an Interim Rector. 

 Ordained in 2008, Mary holds a Master’s of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, an MBA in Finance from Wright State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Florida.  (Go Gators!)  During a sabbatical in 2016, she completed additional graduate coursework in Philanthropic Studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  

 In Mary’s own words: “The most important things about me are not how I came to occupy the rector’s office at Grace Church, where I grew up or went to school.  The most important words I can use to describe myself are simply these: beloved of God, follower of Jesus of Nazareth, priest; and then, wife, mother, godmother, sister, daughter, neighbor and friend.  I love being near large bodies of water, mountains, and the giant Redwood trees.  I’ve had a needle in my hand since before I could read and enjoy quilting and ethnic textiles.   And, congregations undergoing transition are special to me.”

Mary has been married to George since 1980.  They enjoy travel, theater, and especially, their two adult daughters, Denise and Abigail.

Our Leaders


Episcopal CHurch