Paul Allen


Pastor Paul grew up in the Great Lake states and started pastoring full time in California, in 1977. He graduated from Grace Bible Institute in 1981 and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1994. After pastoring two independent churches and Naperville Covenant Church, Paul joined us in 1999. Paul is devoted to the study, practice, and teaching of God's word and to the encouragement of people. In his spare time, Paul likes reading, sports and hanging out with his wife, three children and six grandchildren. Paul and his wife Deborah, recently purchased a home in Michigan City, IN.

Lars Stromberg


Pastor Lars has been serving Hinsdale Covenant Church since 2006. He graduated from Bethel University in 2002 and earned his Masters of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, in 2006. Lars was ordained in the Covenant Church in 2008. Lars is passionate about teaching and preaching God's Word with creativity and care. He loves helping the Bible come to life for others, especially his Confirmation class. A Minnesota native, Lars enjoys broomball, disc golf, art galleries, watching 30-year-old basketball games, trees, Covenant camps, writing, reading, cooking, Minnesota sports and wearing itchy sweaters. He is married to Katie, has two wonderful sons and a delightful daughter and lives in Hinsdale.

Colby Mecher

Youth Pastor

Pastor Colby has been serving Hinsdale Covenant Church since 2013, when he transitioned from camping ministry at Covenant Point Bible Camp to become pastor of the 7-12th graders of our community. Colby, a film/video major at Columbia College, is now pursuing theological training at North Park Seminary. He is passionate about creative, vibrant communities that bring the truth of the Gospel to life. Colby and his wife, Caitrin, have a deep love for the city of Chicago, were married there in 2014 and still enjoy exploring neighborhoods, serving the city they love.

Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation

Joy was moved to join the ECC Denomination on All Saint's Day in 2000. She joined Hinsdale Covenant in June 2016, served as the Pastoral Intern and joined staff permanently in fall 2017. Called to pastoral ministry out of educational theatre, she brings a strong creative and performing arts background to her work. Joy holds a MCS from Regent College and is completing her M.Div. at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joy has lived in seven states and one province, and has taught worship theology and Scripture performance internationally. Joy has been married to Justin for seventeen years and they have two lively children. Joy's prayer for you is that the Spirit's work continues to transform your heart, soul, and mind to reflect Jesus.

Jennifer Secola

Children's Director

Jenn Secola has been attending Hinsdale Covenant Church since 1998 and has been on staff since 2011, as the Director of Children's Ministries. Jenn grew up in Elmhurst, IL and attended Indiana University, where she met her husband, Brett. She enjoys running, traveling, Cubs baseball and watching her daughters play lacrosse.

Christy Dykstra


Christy Frees Dykstra has been a lifelong member of Hinsdale Covenant Church and joined our children's ministry staff in 2016. Christy graduated from North Park University in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. After completing her degree, God led Christy to devote her time to working with and ministering to children and youth. Christy and her husband share a home together in Darien and are expecting their first child in fall 2017.

John Rakes

Chancel and Bell Choir Director


John has been serving the music ministry of Hinsdale Covenant Church since 2016. As a passionate and versatile conductor, professor, and collaborative pianist, John also serves the music students of Wheaton and Kishwaukee Colleges and is the Artistic Director of the Downers Grove Choral Society. John has earned degrees in music from Wheaton College (BME), Northern Illinois (MM) and the University of Iowa (DMA). His doctoral research consisted of an international research and editorial project into the sacred choral music of Antonio Caldara. John lives in Warrenville with his wife Marissa and their young son and daughter. He enjoys sharing God’s love and beauty through music.

Ruth Rottschafer


Ruth joined Hinsdale Covenant Church in 1998 and served as Director of Music until 2014. Ruth now serves as organist and accompanist. A Chicago area native, Ruth received a BA Degree from Calvin College and a Masters of Music Degree from the American Conservatory. Ruth performs as both piano soloist and organist and also accompanies instrumentalists, vocalists, choral groups and ensembles. She teaches piano privately and taught General Music for 28 years. She enjoys walking, biking, reading, and traveling to visit friends and relatives. Ruth spends as much time as possible with her children and 5 grandchildren, who live nearby.

Mary Seiferth

Preschool Director

Mary has been the Hinsdale Covenant Church Preschool Director for 20 years. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Elementary Education. When her children were small, she began working as a teacher at Hinsdale Covenant Preschool and then moved on to become the director. She lives in Clarendon Hills and has three grown children and two little grandsons.

Kristen Bell

Office Manager

Kirsten Bell joined staff in 2015. Her Covenant roots run deep. She's a Covenant pastor's kid, third generation graduate of North Park University, and previously worked at Covenant Offices as CHIC coordinator. Long-time members of the Covenant church, Kirsten, Jim and their two children live in Riverside, IL.