Our Ministry Team

  • Rev. Hank Fairman

    Senior Pastor

    The Rev. Henry E. “Hank” Fairman was called as the eighteenth Senior Pastor of St. John UCC on August 7, 2016. His ministry with the congregation began on September 1, 2016.


    Pastor Hank has served United Church of Christ congregations in Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia as well as spending many years with the Ohio Conference UCC Outdoor Ministries. He has had regular involvement with the wider church in local, regional and national settings of the UCC, especially in ministries related to children’s ministry and youth ministry.


    Rev. Fairman was born in Rockford, Illinois and raised in southern Virginia, Michigan and Ohio. Hank received his Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University focusing on the art, history, and religion of the ancient Near East. He received his Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary with emphasis on youth ministry and pastoral care. Hank has a passion for investigating the transitional moments in our personal lives and congregational life, and how they inform and challenge our growing and evolving faith.


    Hank and his wife Christina are the proud parents of Ellie and companions to their English Springer Spaniels Avery and Greyson. Hank enjoys engaging the outdoors with his family, working on local and regional affordable housing projects, reading too many books, and sharing his passion for music. Hank and Christina also enjoy touring the byways by motorcycle.


    You can contact Hank directly at 815-616-5626 or email him by clicking this link.

  • Lisa Elsner

    Creative and Administrative Assistant

    Lisa joined the staff team in January 2019.  She began her work in digital media, print media, and social media. She added the role of Bookkeeper to her responsibilities in March, 2019 keeping our financial affairs in order. 

    Email Lisa 

  • Pamela  Wessel

    Director of Congregational Life

    Pam's gifts in ministry enrich the life of our congregation as she discerns the gifts of the people and helps them match their gifts with the ministries and missions of the church. Pam's organizational skills direct the events of the church and her caring manner reaches our to members and non-members alike.

    Pam is married to Dan and they enjoy spending their time with family, doing fun activities together in the outdoors. 

    Email Pam

  • Gina Bertram

    Choir Director

    Gina is a talented director and pianist. With her direction our Choir leads us in song, our Bell Choir brings peace and harmony, and with her participation on the piano our SOS Band energizes our service of worship. Gina is an RN by profession, retired from FHN Memorial Hospital.  

  • Randy Cook

    Accompanist & Organist

    Randy joined the Music Ministry team in March 2019.  He is an IT specialist by profession, but his passion is music. He served Embury UMC as organist for 26 years and is accompanist for the Freeport Choral Society.  His gifts include in accompanying our choirs, leading our service music, and offering special music on the organ and piano.