An inclusive congregation committed to Christian worship and service to the community, St. John’s is a vibrant and diverse group of people of all ages, races, abilities, and identities, engaged in anti-racism and other transformative work. We offer three Sunday services, religious instruction for children, and adult and youth choirs. In addition to our annual Darwin Day celebration of science and religion, St. John’s offers a free series of concerts, sponsors a refugee family, hosts an Electric Vehicle Charger for parish and community use, and is actively working to identify, disrupt, and dismantle racism in our church and community. Established in 1883 in Old Irving Park, the church is located on Chicago’s northwest side, on the corner of Byron and Kostner.
The Reverend Kara Wagner Sherer, Rector
Kara Wagner Sherer is a cradle Episcopalian raised in the small congregation of St. James in Marshall, Minnesota. She has a B.A. in English Literature from St. Olaf College in Minnesota (1991) and earned her M.Div. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2003. During the years between St. Olaf and Seabury, she taught elementary school in England, New York, and Chicago and also served as Campus Minister at Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago. Kara came to us from St. Paul & the Redeemer in Hyde Park where she was the Assistant Rector from 2003 – 2005. Kara currently serves as the Dean of the North Deanery, a regional gathering of Episcopal clergy.
Lisa Krappman, Parish Administrator
Lisa Krappman is a graphic designer with extensive experience in the field of marketing communications. During her career, she has produced a broad range of corporate communications, identities, annual reports, advertisements and packaging for Fortune 100 companies to non-for-profit organizations. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Lisa is married and has a son in elementary school. They are members of Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church.
Dee Murphy, Music Director
Dee Murphy is responsible for the choir, coordinating worship music with the organist and other musicians and managing the St. John’s Concert Series, which introduces new performers and ensembles to our community. Dee teaches “Elementary Music Education Materials and Methods” at North Park University as an adjunct professor. After many years of teaching K-8 Vocal and General Music at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lakeview, she enjoys sharing her passion for teaching music with young adults. Ms. Murphy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Simpson College in Iowa, and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University, where she studied with Phyllis Hurt. Upon returning to Chicago from New York City with her family in 1997, Dee joined the choir as an alto, and has been affiliated with the music at St. John’s ever since. Dee enjoys singing with her daughter, being with their extended family, going on road trips, and attending plays and musicals.
Mio Nakamura, Organist
Mio Nakamura earned B.M. and M.M. degrees in piano performance with honors at Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University. She has performed at the PianoForte Salon Series on WFMT, the Musicians Club of Women Artists in Recital Series, and with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Ms. Nakamura is on the faculty at Music Institute of Chicago. She frequently appears as a keyboardist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Hear recordings of Mio Nakamura and other great musicians on her website.
Luca Van Oss, Coordinator of Children and Youth Programs
Luca is a lifelong Episcopalian and ultimate PK (preacher’s kid) as their dad is an Episcopal priest and their mom is a Christian formation director, both serving a parish in Florida. A third year DePaul University student, Luca is a double major in Women and Gender Studies and Spanish. They also work in Chicago Public Schools through Take Back our Halls, teaching healthy relationships. Their work at St John’s is centered around creating meaningful relationships that help facilitate hard conversations rooted in narratives of care and restorative justice. They’re looking forward to continuing support of the community of engaged young folks at St. John’s and listening to what’s on their hearts and minds as opportunities for ministry.
Grace Kozisek, Nursery Caregiver
Grace Kozisek grew up coming to St. John’s with her family when she was younger. She has since returned to help in the Nursery as the Caregiver. Grace graduated from Carthage College in 2020 and is currently pursuing a career in the arts, specifically dance and aerial arts. She has extensive childcare experience from the many times she babysat for those in the Old Irving Park neighborhood with the recent addition of her first niece. Grace is very excited to rejoin the familiar St. John’s community.
Grizelda and Ernesto Raygoza, Sextons
Ernesto and Griselda have been married 25 years and have three children, Monique, River, and Savanah. They moved back home to Chicago in 2014 after living in Texas for 13 years where Ernesto was a helicopter mechanic. Ernesto currently works for Crafty as a technician. Griselda works for The Law Offices of Ronnie S. Zanayed in Albany Park as a paralegal in family, criminal and real estate law. Fun fact: every weekend, no matter rain, snow or shine, they travel throughout the city in search of the best tacos!
The vestry of St. John’s, along with the Rector, are the leaders of the church who discern, articulate, and direct the vision of our community. They care for the spiritual life of the parish, including pastoral care and Christian formation. They guide the work of evangelism and outreach to our community and world. They are responsible for assets of the church, maintaining financial health and the buildings and grounds. Members are elected in January to 3 year terms, and can serve two consecutive terms. The dates listed are the year they finish their terms.
Khara Gonzales, Senior Warden (President), 2025
Harry Burgan, Junior Warden (Vice-President), 2024
Olga Ivari, Treasurer (Ex-Officio)
Krystyna Gallagher, Assistant Treasurer (Ex-Officio)
Stephen Linam, Clerk (Secretary), 2026
Erica Zazo, 2024
Jesus Garcia, 2024
Chris Horlacher, 2024
Mike Underhill, 2025
Jeanie Wallenstein, 2025
Michael McGovern, 2026
Juanita Raman, 2026