Reverend Mark Jacobs grew up in Aurora, Illinois. He graduated from East Aurora High School in 1972. After receiving his BA degree in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Psychology from the University of Indianapolis (formerly Indiana Central), Mark attended United Theological Seminary.
During Seminary Mark served as a Pastor at Otterbein Home in Lebanon, Ohio, then Community UMC in Dayton. Since leaving seminary Mark has served five churches in Northern Illinois, including one new church start and one new satellite congregation.
Mark has always called churches to change and meet the current world. Jan is Mark's wife. Their family includes their son Josh and his wife Kate, and son Ben..
Ruben and Julissa Rivera are the Spanish language Pastors of La Luz de Cristo, a ministry of Epworth Church. Ruben and Julissa live in Elgin with their two daughters and have a passion for leading believers to Christ.
Kara Berg joined the staff at Epworth Church in 2007 serving as Communications Coordinator. Currently she serves as the Assistant to the Lead Pastor. Kara grew up in the St. Louis area and moved to Chicago-land in 2000. She and her family moved to Elgin in 2005. Kara leads the Brownie Troop at Epworth Church and is also the President of the United Methodist Women of Epworth Church. From 2010-2012 she has also served as the Annual Conference Registrar for the Northern Illinois Conference Annual Conference.
Robyn Rafalzik has joined the Epworth staff as the new office manager. Growing up, Robyn frequently moved, but considers Wisconsin her home state. Robyn, along with her husband, Ron, and their two sons have lived in the Elgin area for the past 10 years.
Bob lives in Elgin and is currently finishing up his Associates Degree in Fine Arts of Music. From there he will be seeking a degree in biblical studies with a minor in youth ministry. Bob’s ultimate goal is to become a youth pastor. When it comes to church music Bob has been involved in church worship since 2012 at his home church, Christ Community in St. Charles.
Bob is engaged to Kaeleigh Savage and will be getting married in June 2014. They love being in ministry together and are excited to be a part of Epworth's team.
Outside of church, Bob and Kaeleigh enjoy sports, movies, Starbucks, trips to the city, and of course, relaxing at home with family.
Penny started working with preschool kids as a Sunday School assistant when she was in high school. She has worked with children since, growing from a Sunday School teacher to child care to assistant preschool teacher, and she currently is the Director/Mon-Wed-Fri Teacher at New Creations, where she has worked for the past 21 years.
She loves working with preschoolers because of their acceptance of everyone without expectations, their curiosity in the world around them, and their inspiring love of learning and faith. Her favorite part of her job is when children finally understand something they have been working at—she loves the way their face lights up and they are so proud of themselves, as it’s like seeing a glimpse of God’s love. Her favorite “Free Choice” station is storytime, as she loves that books can take us many places. Outside of New Creations, Penny enjoys reading, sewing, and cooking, riding the back of a motorcycle with her husband. She also loves spending time with her daughters and granddaughter.