St. John's is a caring place where everyone can live, learn and grow together in Christ.

Staff and Leadership

The Reverend Allison Bengfort, Pastor

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Allison BengfortPastor Allison Bengfort has been serving St. John’s since November of 2018.  She is passionate about helping congregation members develop a theology that is intellectually satisfying, find spiritual practices that are fulfilling, and live out their values through acts of justice and service in the world.

Pastor Allison grew up in Davenport, IA, where she developed an early love of church and passion for theology and service.  After studying religion at St. Olaf College, Allison worked for two years as a social worker in Minneapolis, MN.  During those years, she held positions at a food shelf, a youth homeless shelter, and a center for victims of sexual violence.  From there, she moved to Chicago to pursue a dual master’s program, which culminated in her receiving a Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago and a Master of Divinity from LSTC.  In 2016, Allison moved to Seattle, WA, for a pastoral internship.  During this time, she developed strengths in preaching, youth and family ministry, and promoting lay leadership.  After internship, Allison taught violin lessons and worked at a church preschool while she awaited call as a pastor.  During this time, she continued to preach at local churches in Seattle and became an active member of Proclaim, a professional group of LGBTQ Lutheran clergy, who support her as a bisexual church leader.

In her free time, Pastor Allison tries to be outside as much as possible.  She enjoys hiking, biking, and playing Ultimate Frisbee, and she is a long-time lover of Lake Michigan.  Allison has been playing the violin since she was five years old, and she enjoys both teaching and playing music with friends.  Pastor Allison adores good food, and she would love to get to know you over a meal, hot chocolate, or cocktails. 

Robert McConnell
Music Director

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Robert McConnellRobert McConnell has served as music director and organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church since late 2010. His contribution to the music offerings at St. John’s have mixed a deep appreciation of the traditional sacred music of the Lutheran church with more contemporary sounds by incorporating gospel, folk, rock, Latin and African music into worship.

Born in New York City, Robert began his musical training at the preparatory division of the Mannes College of Music in New York City where he studied piano, composition, and conducting. Robert received his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Henry Bienen School of Music, and later, a Master’s in orchestral conducting from Northwestern.

He maintains an active schedule as an organist, continuo player, and accompanist, and has appeared as soloist with the Erato Chamber Orchestra, the Bach Week Festival, the Renovo String Orchestra, the Northwestern Baroque Music Ensemble, and the North Shore Chamber Orchestra. Robert has received critical acclaim for his work as Music Director of the 2011 International Beethoven Festival and for his work composing 33 measure of music missing from Beethoven’s piano trio in D-major as a collaborator with the Beethoven Trio Project.

Jan Wendel
Administrative Assistant

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Jan WendelJan Wendel has been the administrative assistant here at St. John’s since 1990. Jan's ties to St. John's go back well before that, though. No less than 5 generations of Jan's family have been members of St. John's, and she herself has been a life-long member. Jan’s greatest joy in her job is working with a great team of people, as well as all the wonderful people of St. John’s. Every day is different and each day is a blessing.

Jan and her husband, Tom, live in Des Plaines. They have one son, Eric, who lives in Woodstock, and a daughter, Amanda, who lives in Rockford. They also have 8 wonderful grandchildren.



Brooke De Jong
Director of Youth & Family Programs and Community Outreach

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