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“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  (Matthew 28:19)

Following their graduation from seminary, Bob Stark, Shellie Knight, Katrina Steingraeber, and Phillip Potaczek have been called to serve congregations in the Northern Illinois Synod. We are blessed to have them “walking together” with us as servants of Jesus Christ.  

Pastor Shellie Knight

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Pearl City

Although Iowa to Illinois seems like a straight line, I am in my 30th house over 49 years. I would have to say that wherever I am becomes home, for a while, amid God’s people who invite me into their lives and stories. I received a BA in accounting from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA, and a Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA. I served St. Paul’s in Warren, IL for the past three years as their Vicar. Currently I am in my first call at St. John’s in Pearl City, IL where I also reside with my younger son, Andre. I am the founder of recoveryally.org and enjoy spending time with my peers in recovery. I am the mother to four pretty cool humans, and grandmother to even cooler three littles. My family is a delightful mix of two and four legged creatures settled in IL and CA.

Pastor Bob Stark

First Lutheran Church, Mt. Carroll

Pastor Bob Stark, a Wartburg Seminary TEEM (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries) graduate, was called to serve at First Lutheran Church in Mt. Carroll, IL, the congregation he served as a student throughout his years of preparation for ordained ministry.  Upon receiving the call to serve as pastor of this congregation, Bob was ordained as a Minister of Word & Sacrament and officially installed there on Sunday, May 23, 2021. Bob started his ministry journey by becoming a Stephen’s Leader with a focus on training new Stephen Ministers who walk with a care receiver over an extended period of time.  In 2009, he graduated from the diakonia program and continued work with the Northern Illinois steering committee advancing the program.  In 2017, he finally listened to God’s call and left his sales career behind to be involved in full time ministry. Bob and his wife Barbara continue to enjoy making Mt. Carroll their home. 

Pastor Katrina Steingraeber

Associate Pastor

St. Mark Lutheran Church, Rockford

I am Pastor Katrina Steingraeber and I serve as the Associate Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Carthage College in 1995 and in May of 2021 I graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago with a Master of Divinity. I am a Rockford native. I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained at Zion Lutheran Church in Rockford, my home congregation. My husband, Scott, and I have three boys, Nolan, Aiden, and Soren. Our family is actively involved in scouting, music, swimming, soccer, and tennis; we also enjoy canoeing, and kayaking at Rock Cut State Park. I am involved in the Antiracism Transformation Team at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and I serve on the Northern Illinois Synod’s Worship Planning Team. I am enjoying getting to know the people of St. Mark, they have welcomed me with open arms. I am also enjoying teaching Confirmation, leading the Men’s Bible Study on Wednesday mornings, and co-leading the adult forum on Sunday mornings. I am blessed to serve in my hometown and in an active congregation who has a heart for music, learning, and outreach.

Pastor-elect Phillip Potaczek

Trinity Lutheran Church, Ottawa

Having felt called to ordained ministry since he was a confirmation student in the 90s, Phillip is excited to be serving in his First Call at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ottawa, IL. Phillip attended Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago after teaching third graders in a public school for a number of years. He graduated this past May and is looking forward to being ordained on Reformation Day, proudly at his home parish, Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rockford. He is a professed Brother in the Ecumenical Order of Charity and looks forward to living out the community's charisms of ecumenism, charity, and availability in his daily ministry. Phillip is grateful for the support and affirmation from his colleagues, friends, family, and wonderful spouse - Jay.

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Please pray for each of these new pastors and their loved ones during this exciting time of new beginnings for them.