Bethel United Church of Christ Welcomes New Senior Minister

Religion and Spirituality

August 23, 2013

Bethel United Church of Christ in Elmhurst is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Senior Minister, Rev. Gretchen Sylvester, who began her ministry with the church on August 1.  The Bethel congregation welcomed her officially on Sunday, August 4, when she conducted worship at Bethel for the first time.  "We are very blessed to have Rev. Sylvester as our pastor at Bethel UCC,” said Ellen Braun, Church Council President..  “Her warmth and fresh ideas will be great assets for our congregation, and we look forward to working with her as our church begins its seventh decade as a vital and caring community of faith." 

Rev. Sylvester comes to Bethel from St. John’s UCC in Monroe, WI, where she was Associate Pastor for nine years. In addition to her duties in this position, Rev. Sylvester was instrumental in founding Family Promise, a Monroe-based alliance of 14 churches collaborating to provide services to the homeless.  She has served on its Board and on a local FEMA task force which focused on providing emergency housing services.


A native of St. Louis, Rev. Sylvester graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign where she majored in biology and journalism.  She received a Master of Divinity degree from United Seminary of the Twin Cities, where she earned recognition for excellence in constructive theology, biblical interpretation, and New Testament studies.  She was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 2002.  Her interests include running, travel, camping, and reading.   She also has a special interest in learning about the ancient traditions of the church including, spirituals, medieval prayer and the history of Reformed theology.  Rev. Sylvester and her husband, Bruce, who is City Planner for the Village of Niles, have three children in middle school. "I feel fortunate to be called to such a warm and welcoming community,” Rev. Sylvester remarked. “Bethel's vibrant music ministry and its desire for meaningful outreach in the world make it a great church to serve."


Everyone is invited to join us at Bethel to meet Rev. Sylvester and to worship with us on Sundays at 10 a.m.  Christian education for children and youth is held at the same time.  Bethel United Church of Christ is located at 315 E. St. Charles Rd. in Elmhurst.  For more information call the church at 630-279-4040 or visit