Welcome New Pastors!
Taylorville Correctional Center – Minimum security men’s prison that houses 1200 offenders
Installation Date: June 2017, (original call to synod: 7/21/2008)
Amy grew up in Mt. Olive, IL. Her family moved to Chatham, IL in 1986 and she graduated from Glenwood High School in 1990. She earned a Bachelor in Psychology from EIU (Charleston, IL), and worked at Central Management Services in the Research & Test Development Unit for 10 years when she received the call to seminary. Amy graduated from LTSS with M. Div. in 2008. Her first call was to Zion Lutheran Church in Liberty, IL (2008-2009), and her second call was to Grace Lutheran Church in Hastings, MI (2010-2015). She has also worked at SIU School of Medicine in HR, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in Labor Relations, and Illinois Department of Corrections in Planning & Research Unit. Amy enjoys visiting lighthouses, reading, board games, and video games.
Pastor Craig Swenson
Salem Lutheran Church
Installation Date: September 9, 2018
Craig returns to C/SIS after having served nine years at Saint Andrew Lutheran Church, Wausau, WI. He was born and raised on a farm in Western Iowa before sensing a call to parish ministry. A graduate of Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, Nebraska, Craig received a BS degree in Behavioral Sciences and then an M.Div. from Wartburg Theological Seminary at Dubuque, Iowa in 1995. His first call was to C/SIS serving Immanuel Lutheran Church in Minonk and Bethany Lutheran Church in Wenona as a two-point parish. Craig and his wife Karen are in their 39th year of marriage, raising two sons who themselves are now married. Craig sand Karen returned to Illinois in part to be closer to one of their sons and his family including their three grandchildren. Craig loves parish ministry, especially leading and sharing the word of God through worship. He enjoys working with his hands and cycling which serves not only as a means of exercise but also as meditative and restorative to body mind and spirit. He looks forward to many years of ministry at Salem and the Peoria area but also among the synod.
Bethel Lutheran Church
Installation Date: February 4, 2018
Kara was born in Wagner, SD and grew up in Nebraska and South Dakota.
She attended elementary and high school in Parkston, SD but spent her senior year as a foreign exchange student in Germany. After graduating in 2007 from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD majoring in Religion, she went to Luther Seminary and graduated with her M.Div in 2011. She was ordained and started her first call at Tri-County Ministry in Eastern North Dakota Synod in June 2011, and she served the rural, multi-point, ecumenical parish for over six years.
In college, Kara worked with two different outdoor camping ministries (LOSD and NLOM) during summers as well as being active with Augie's campus ministry during the academic year. While at college and seminary, she worked at the schools' libraries and has maintained a deep love of books since childhood.
Kara keeps busy outside reading, watching nature shows, napping with her dog, and planning adventures to different states and countries in order to visit old friends and make new connections.
Pastor Cynthia M. Munker
Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Litchfield
Trinity Lutheran Church, Litchfield
Installation Date: July 23, 2017
Pastor Cynthia was born and raised in a northeast waterfront suburb of Detroit, MI. She received a BS in Special Education from Wayne State University and attended George Washington University for one year, studying child development before earning her M.Div. from Lutheran Theological School at Gettysburg in 1996. She met her husband Stefan in seminary while finishing seminary at the Lutheran House of Studies in Washington, DC. Cynthia served first as solo pastor, and then as intentional interim for 20 years in Metro Chicago Synod before accepting her calls to Trinity and Mt Zion in Litchfield. She and her husband enjoy traveling and discovering new places to visit. They have a cat named Amber who believes she is a person with fur.