The Rev. Josh Evans (he/they) has served as Pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church since August 2020. Originally from Shelby Township, Michigan (a northern suburb of Detroit), Pastor Josh is a lifelong Lutheran, with a mission of creating sacred spaces of welcome and inclusion for all people, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ability, or any other barrier that would seek to divide and exclude. They also have a tremendous passion for preaching, liturgy and worship, and spiritual practices and formation. Prior to his call at St. Philip, Pastor Josh has previously served as Associate Pastor of Unity Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Pastor Josh holds degrees from Concordia University Chicago (B.A., English, 2011) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.Div., 2018) and is an active member of Proclaim, a professional membership organization for publicly-identified LGBTQIA+ rostered ministers and seminarians in the Lutheran Church. Find Pastor Josh online at pastorjoshevans.com or on Facebook.

Pastor Josh now resides in Park Ridge, Illinois, a near north suburb of Chicago, where he lives with his three cats, Sophia, Boris, and Edgar. When they aren't busy with ministry, Pastor Josh enjoys reading, drinking too much coffee, discovering delicious local eats, taking in the splendor of urban beauty, and cheering for the Cubs.

Pastor Josh would love to grab a coffee with you and learn more about what brings you to this community.

Email Pastor Josh

Kjel Hanson (he/him) joined the ministry team at St. Philip in July 2016, having previously served other congregations in Illinois and Iowa for over 15 years. Within those capacities, he has had the opportunity to work with various age groups of volunteer and professional musicians. He feels that the Lord has called him to the ministry utilizing his musical abilities.


In addition to working at churches, Kjel also has taught music in a Catholic school and shared his abilities in performing with and giving insight to musical programming in community musical and choral groups.


Kjel resides in Wheeling with his wife LorieAnn and their Coonhound Beagle mix dog, Scout. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and six stepchildren doing various activities.

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Amanda Smith (she/her) joined St. Philip in July 2021 to assist in the daily administrative duties of the church, including social media management and keeping the congregation informed of weekly activities. She grew up in an ELCA church in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and moved to Illinois in January of 2021 to work as a nanny for a family.


In addition to working as a nanny and at the church, Amanda also volunteers for Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue as their newsletter designer.

Amanda currently lives in Waukegan with her four pets, Ava (dog), Ayana (cat), Lani (mourning gecko), and Rhea (leopard gecko). When she isn't working, she loves to go camping, hiking, and traveling. She also enjoys reading and playing video games.

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Barb Kot-Mitalo (she/her) started as St. Philip’s bookkeeper in January 2009 after a ten-year break from her previous full-time job. Prior to having children, Barb worked for the Fox television station in Chicago. She started as a staff accountant and ended an 11-year career as the Director of Finance there in order to raise her oldest son, Eric. She really didn’t anticipate being home for ten years, but her youngest son, Jake, was diagnosed with autism just shy of his third birthday. Autism research, advocacy and volunteer work became the new norm for Barb’s life.

When Jake turned seven, he started at a new school for children with autism and Barb finally felt ready to get back to work on a very part-time basis. It was the second time that she peeked at Craigslist that she saw the ad for St. Philip. “I think God just made the match happen! It was the perfect job,” says Barb. Barb says she is very fortunate to be able to spend time with her children and also have the opportunity to get back to working in her profession, which she really enjoys. “St. Philip is a wonderful match for my sometimes crazy life,” Barb says.

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Steven Thielman (he/him) is a tremendous asset to our worship and music ministries, ensuring that all our services - online and in-person - run smoothly.