Our Pastor and Staff

Our Pastor and Staff at Salem Lutheran Church

Pastor Craig was born and raised in western Iowa. He received a B.S. in Behavioral Science, 1991, from Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, NE and a Master of Divinity, 1995, from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA. Previous to serving the last 9 years at Saint Andrew, Pastor Craig served a two point parish at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Minonk, IL and Bethany Lutheran in Wenona, IL for 14 years.

Pastor Craig, and his wife Karen, have two married sons, one in Tennessee and one in Washington, IL as well as three young grandchildren in Washington.

Pastor Craig’s strengths include preaching and teaching, pastoral care and visitation, evangelism and mission, and building a sense of community.

Pastor Craig’s hobbies include biking, landscaping, and singing.

Contact Pastor Craig: cswenson@salemofpeoria.com

Jill began in the position in October, 2005 and was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry at Salem in April, 2006 after completing the ELCA Candidacy process. Jill is a life-long Peorian and a life-long Lutheran. She graduated from Woodruff High School and Bradley University. She earned a Master’s Degree in the Administration of Youth Services from Sangamon State University in 1993 and completed the AIM Lutheran education requirements at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. 

Jill has served on the Northern Conference Youth Board for 20+ years and is a member of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. She currently serves as the ELCA Practice Discipleship Coach for our synod.

Jill has a great love for parish ministry and is specifically called to help congregations provide faith formation opportunities for children, youth and families that result in lifelong commitments to Christ. Some of her favorite activities at Salem are VBS, Be Like Jesus Weekend, the annual Youth Service, and Breaking Bread.

Contact Deacon Jill: jgoldhammer@salemofpeoria.com

Office Coordinator, Brenda Newcomb: bnewcomb@salemofpeoria.com

Disciple Engagement Coordinator, Matt Bastian: mbastian@salemofpeoria.com

Director of Senior Ministry, Joan Creager: jcreager@salemofpeoria.com

Director of Salem Lutheran Preschool, Pam Machacek: pmachacek@comcast.net

Director of Communications, Meghan Peterson: mpeterson@salemofpeoria.com

Sunday School Superintendent, Gretchen Petrakis: gpetrakis@salemofpeoria.com

Parish Nurse, Lori Reimer: lreimer@salemofpeoria.com

Director of Music, Marcia Richardson: mrichardson@salemofpeoria.com