Rev. Dr. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker
Pastor Head of Staff
Rev. Dr. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker was ordained in May 2006 and was called to serve United Presbyterian church in May of 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of South Carolina in 2003, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2006, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2014 from McCormick Theological Seminary. Pastor Stephen has been the featured preacher on the Day1 Radio broadcast, and has written sermons, sermon reviews, and other articles for various preaching and religious journals. Pastor Stephen enjoys cooking, traveling, sports, and great sci-fi shows like Doctor Who. He, and his wife Courtney,have a daughter (Verity Grace), a dog (Lina) and a cat (Twitchit).
Director of Worship and the Arts
Aaron Schultz joined the staff of United Presbyterian Church as the Director of Worship and Arts in late July, 2014. He received his Bachelor of Music- Music in Worship from North Park University in Chicago, IL. He also received his Master of Arts in Music Ministry from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL where he was selected to study as a Ravenscroft Scholar. Aaron is particularly interested in how liturgy and liturgical song respects and reflects Christianity’s rich history while also speaking truth into our current situations. He resides in Peoria with his wife Jenn and their dog Ruffles. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys to read, play and write music, cook with his wife, learn new instruments, be outdoors, drink good coffee and micro-brews, and spend time with friends.
Director of Children and Youth Ministry
Karen has been a Director of Christian Education for 9 years in the PC(USA) before coming to United Presbyterian in May 2013. She is constantly blessed with the gift of being able to walk along side children and youth on their faith journeys. Karen is a member of The Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators and a workshop leader for their annual conference. Recently she completed course requirements through the University of Dubuque Seminary for Commissioned Ruling Elder. Karen and her husband, Scott are kept busy with the activities of two children, Bella and Nash, and they could not be happier about it.
Kirsten Tharp joined the staff of United Presbyterian Church as the Parish Nurse in August of 2014. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and has been a registered nurse for fourteen years. She has experience in both critical care and office nursing. For the past six years her nursing skills have been utilized in her own home, raising her two sets of twins, Isaac and Anika, and Andrew and Emily. In addition to nursing experience, Kirsten has worked as a Youth and Family Minister. She is passionate about meeting the health and spiritual needs of people of all ages. Kirsten, husband Brian and children live in Washington. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking and spending time outside exploring God’s amazing creation with her family.
Trish Deppermann has performed Administrative duties for the church since December of 1998. She is an active member of APA (The Association of Presbyterian Administrators) and has achieved level 3 certification. She is married to Rodger and together they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. She enjoys everything about the farm and is very involved in her local township government. She belongs to St. Peter Lutheran, Glasford, where she teaches Sunday School and serves as the Central/Southern Illinois Synod Secretary of Women of the ELCA.
Sabrina joined UPC in 2010 as the financial secretary. She and her husband Brian enjoy spending time on their farm with their sons Chris and Joe. Prior to coming to UPC, Sabrina worked in both the healthcare and banking fields. In her spare time she enjoys reading, watching movies, and traveling.
Johnny joined UPC as the evening custodian in fall of 2013 and moved into the full-time Custodian position in the fall of 2014. Johnny works Monday through Thursday from 1:00-9:00pm Sunday from 8:00am-4:00pm. He helps keep our building clean, accessible, and hospitable for all our members and guests. Johnny is married and has two daughters. He enjoys watching sports and playing basketball. He is a graduate of Peoria High.
Sue Hulin has been on staff at United Presbyterian Church since 2005. She is the organist and pianist for Sunday worship at UPC. She accompanies the worship band and the chancel choir, accompanies solos and small ensembles, and provides special music. Susan graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education from Northwestern University and has been employed at OSF St Francis Medical Center for thirty years as a registered nurse. She lives in rural Wyoming, IL with her husband, Gary.