Rev. Alex Lang is passionate about sharing his gifts of teaching and preaching. His primary focus is to encourage spiritual growth through the intersection of scripture and theology with real world issues. He also cares deeply about mission – reaching out to all and serving others in Jesus’ name to change the world for the better. Alex earned a master’s of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, in Princeton, New Jersey, and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Rice University (Houston, Texas). He also spent a year studying theology at Oxford University in Oxford, England. Before coming to First Pres in 2013, Alex served as associate pastor at Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Alex is married to Courtney, and they have two children.
Interim Pastor for Pastoral Care
Rev. Laura Sherwood has been working as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) since July 2000 with a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. Rev. Sherwood, often known as Pastor Laura or “PL” for short, has worked with churches in various kinds of transition in rural, small town, urban, and campus settings in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Since 2013, she has also served as faculty for PC (USA) Interim training sites at Union Seminary in Richmond, VA and in the Synods of Mid-America and Lincoln Trails partnership (MALT). Pastor Laura joined the Arlington Heights congregation in March 2023. In addition to pastoral care, her role will include working with the Session to explore how the Church can faithfully respond to a changing cultural context and discern what is needed for the next installed Associate Pastor role.
MUSIC AND WORSHIP
Director of Music and Worship
Adam Hendrickson joined the First Pres staff in May 2012. Adam leads music in worship and coordinates the overall music program of the church. He provides direction, oversight, resources, and support to the church’s music ministry, including adults, youth and children, traditional and contemporary worship, and both choral and instrumental music. Adam earned a bachelor’s of music degree at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, and a master’s of music at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Adam has earned multiple vocal honors and has performed in venues ranging from House of Blues in Chicago to Carnegie Hall in New York City. Adam finds that, “When people come together to worship and make music together, I am surrounded by pure joy. It’s a wonderful sense of community.” He believes music can have a profound impact on youth and the entire congregation. Adam likes spicy food and sour candy. Adam is married and has a daughter.
Associate Director of Music and Organist
Chris has served as associate director of music and organist at First Presbyterian Church since April 2001. Chris provides musical leadership from the organ for worship services. In addition, Chris serves as accompanist for the choirs of First Pres, including the Chancel Choir, Chamber Singers, and Men’s Chorus. He is also a featured recitalist in the church’s Wednesdays @ Noon concert series and is a frequent recitalist at churches in the Chicagoland area. Prior to joining First Presbyterian, Chris served as associate organist at First United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Indiana. He also served as organist and choir director of Crafton United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chris studied organ with Marilyn Keiser and William Evans and is a graduate of Indiana University.
CHILDREN’S & YOUTH MINISTRIES
Director of Handbells and Children's Choirs, Interim Director of Children's Ministries
Nick Pulikowski began singing in the choirs of FPCAH in 2013 as the tenor section leader and occasional soloist. In 2016 he started as director of our Children’s Choir and in 2017 he added the Handbell Choir to his responsibilities. Nick studied music education and vocal performance at Northwestern University where he earned a Bachelor of Music and he subsequently earned a Master of Music at Indiana University. He is a frequent vocal soloist among Chicagoland classical music, opera, and operetta ensembles and is a tenured professional member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Nick is teaching his 16th school year of private voice lessons currently in high school districts 87 and 205. He and his wife Daniella have two small children – both future singers in the church’s children’s choir!
Interim Youth Director
Jeni is passionate about creating safe spaces and experiences for youth to explore their faith and build a community where they are seen not for their performance, popularity, grades, or age, but for being children of God. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and has been a private tutor for the last 6 years, specializing in standardized test prep and AP humanities subjects.
Director of Parents' Day Out
Coleen Anzalone works closely with the PDO teaching staff to provide a safe, fun, and educational environment for the children. She also partners with other First Pres staff to continue to make Parents’ Day Out a wonderful outreach program of the church. Coleen served as a teacher at PDO for many years, and loves her role as director, which she began in 2016. She earned a BS in communications from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. After working in the staffing industry, she ran a daycare business in her home before she began working at Parents’ Day Out. At PDO, she has cared for babies, preschool-age children, andtoddlers. “It is most rewarding when a child who begins the PDO year with separation anxiety eventually enters the classroom, gives his or her PDO teacher a hug, waves good-bye to mom, and has a smile on his or her face.” Coleen is married and has two children.
Beth Johnson has been nursery coordinator since September 2004. Her job is to coordinate scheduling of both paid caregivers and volunteer helpers for worship services as well as a variety of church events. Beth’s job also entails sending cards to new parents and sending Bibles on baptism anniversary dates. Additionally, she has been a teacher for Parents’ Day Out at First Presbyterian since 1989.
Debbie coordinates and manages the business affairs of the church, including office staff and workflow. She assists in the annual budget-development process and is responsible for all church accounting and financial recordkeeping and reporting. Debbie previously worked in the travel business for 20 years. She enjoys traveling, sports, and the outdoors. Debbie and her husband have three grown children.
Senior Administrative Assistant
Mary Fino has worked for First Presbyterian Church since 2007. Mary’s many responsibilities include working on bulletins for worship services and funerals; updating attendance records in the church database, keeping the church’s online calendar and coordinating various schedules; compiling information for Session recordkeeping and reports; and assisting church committees and other staff members with many different kinds of projects.
Administrative Assistant / Receptionist
Carol has many years of experience in business operations, including customer relations and administrative responsibilities. Her role at First Pres is to support the pastors, church staff, and members. She has a wide range of responsibilities, including reception duties, processing church bulletins and other publications, and helping with many other projects to assist the administration, programs, and ministries of First Pres.
Tony Scheurich received his BA from Loyola University and his MA from The University of Chicago. A quirk of fate had him working part-time at Mundelein College to help support him through grad school. This had the fortunate effect of awakening a latent interest in buildings and mechanical things. He escaped from a family full of lawyers, turned away from a teaching career, and began a lifelong affair with buildings.
Most recently, Tony has been the Operations Manager at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and before that at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. These are two of Skokie’s premier buildings.
Tony has just recently assumed the position of Director of Facilities at First Pres of AH.
Tony is married with three children and four grandchildren. He spends much of his free time “sport building” in the woods of Wisconsin. Often he is accompanied by children. He is very excited to be taking on the new role in this phase of his life.
While Michele began her work here in 2018, she is a long time member of First Pres. She has been attending First Pres since Kindergarten and was confirmed in 1978. Michele says, “I have a lot of good memories of growing up in the church – Sunday School, singing in the choirs, youth groups, and also my children growing up in this community.” She has a BA from Augustana College. She is excited to be working with the congregation in helping us realize all the ways in which our facility can serve the community, building God’s kingdom, continuing her work with the Family Night team, and working with the church staff. Michele has three children: Kelly, Charlie, and Susannah. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, reading, and sewing.