MEET OUR STAFF
Rev. J. Michael Solberg
Mike Solberg became our Sr. Minister in July of 2013. Mike is committed to pastoral ministry because he believes that congregations are the primary vehicle God has given us to participate in God’s work in the world. Mike says living as a Christian is joyful, challenging, peace-filled, confusing, comforting, blessed, and risky, and he seeks to be with, and guide, people in the midst of it all.
Mike has lived in northern Illinois most of his life. He and his wife, Janine, have two children, Henry and Muriel, both in their young adult years, leaving only the canine and feline dependents at home in La Grange Park. Mike has run many marathons, done four Ironman Triathlons, and swum the English Channel, with the latter effort raising over $80,000 to build a school in Waku Kungo, Angola. The school is now educating about 800 students who would otherwise receive little or no education.
Mike graduated from the University of Illinois (B.A.), Duke University Divinity School (M.Div.), and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (D.Min.). Probably more importantly, he has read lots of Jane Austen, all the Harry Potter books, and most of what Stanley Hauerwas has published. Along with the whole congregation of Union Church of Hinsdale (UCC), Mike would love to welcome you at worship on Sunday morning. He is also happy to field questions from all, church members or not, talk through problems, assure you of God’s love, and draw you into the wonderful life of being a follower of Jesus.
Finally, Mike invites you to enjoy this fabulous quote: “Christ is a persuasion, a form evoking desire, and the whole force of the gospel depends upon the assumption that this persuasion is also peace: that the desire awakened by the shape of Christ and his church is one truly reborn as agape, rather than merely the way in which a lesser force succumbs to a greater, as an episode in the endless epic of power.” ― David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth
Rev. Robb Knuepfer
Mobile (312) 927.8913
Robb Knuepfer is an associate pastor at Union Church. He earned an M.Div degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and is ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC). He is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Chicago Theological Seminary. At Union Church, he assists with our worship ministry, supports our pastoral care ministry, including the Union Church Care Team Ministry, and helps with member development, including our UCECP program, and our community and civic presence initiatives. Robb and Nancy, and their 4 children and 10 grandchildren, have been members of Union Church for many years.
Rev. Ali Kralovec-Kirchherr
Mobile (774) 270.4248
Rev. Ali Marie Kralovec-Kirchherr joins the Union Church of Hinsdale staff from Connecticut, where she attended seminary and met her husband, Peter. Peter is a native of Western Springs and both Ali and Peter are thrilled to be near family. Ali is an autism clinician, specializing in co-occurring complex trauma, and is also a certified birth doula. It is Ali’s dream to make faith spaces truly accessible to those with divinely different brains and bodies; a space where worship is created by and for neurodiverse folx. When not at church, you can find Ali on backpacking trips with her husband and their Siberian Husky, Finn, baking bread, reading all things Marilynne Robinson, and watching/training for ultra-marathons.
Stephen C Edwards
Director of Music and Worship
Stephen C Edwards has been teaching and working with choirs and vocal ensembles for over 18 years. In addition to his work at The Union Church of Hinsdale, Stephen is one of the founders and the Artistic Director of Allegrezza, a community chorus that celebrates all people for who they are, and as a foundational principal, gives a portion of their proceeds to area non-profit organizations. Besides working with the Chancel Choir and all of the fabulous children and musicians, one of Stephen’s favorite things about working at The Union Church of Hinsdale is the people. “I believe that the people of Union are kind, generous, caring, and so fun to be with!”
Rev. Grant Glowiak
Director of Youth Ministries
I grew up right next door in Western Springs, and currently live in Hinsdale with my lovely wife Anna (Kuhn) Glowiak and our two adopted goldendoodles, Obi-Wan and Maya. Since the fall of 2015, I’ve been facilitating the middle and high school youth groups, as well as our confirmation program. I wear several other hats as well: staff liaison for all mission-related work, worship leader and preacher, and that guy who is willing to help you carry heavy stuff. If I’m not at the church, you can probably find me working in the yard or on the little projects around the house, or perhaps sitting around a bonfire or a board game with family and friends. My passions include environmentalism, alternative music, and cookies.
Stephen is organist, pianist and chorister for Union Church. He is an avid scholar of liturgical music with extensive background and experience including performances on WFMT radio, as well as a performer and panelist at American Lutheran Church Musicians conferences.
Director of Christian Education and Administration Manager
Penny Johnson became the Director of Christian Education in early 2015. Her responsibilities include the faith formation of the church community from cradle through grave. A special emphasis of Penny’s ministry is the early elementary years as she helps the children develop personal, curious, generous and socially engaged Christian faith. Penny is also the Administration Manager of the office; she holds an MBA and has a business background. Penny and her husband Andy have raised three sons at Union Church.
Director of UCECP
Jennifer joined UCECP, our Early Childhood Education Program, in 2004. Prior to her position at the UCECP, her journey included being a first grade teacher for CPS and an Assistant Principal. She also served as the Program Director and Regional Director for several urban preschools. Jennifer has a Master’s Degree from Loyola University in Education Administration with state endorsements enabling her to be a principal and superintendent.