John N. Bates

Senior Pastor

Pastor Bates has been with St. Mark’s since 1998. He received a B.A. from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, with a double major in Religion and Psychology.
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Pastor Bates studied in the Master of Divinity Program at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois, and was a Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary).

Originally from Kewanee, Illinois, Pastor Bates has lived in Germantown Hills since 1989.

His wife, Pam, is on the faculty at Eureka College. Pastor Bates and Pam have two grown step-children, Kerra (Tim) McCoskey; Jonah & Evan; Chad (Joy) Whittington; Lucas.

John taught Introduction to Philosophy; Social Psychology; and World Religions as a part-time instructor at Illinois Central College. He is also the former Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Peoria. Pastor Bates is a member of the following organizations: Washington Rotary, Rotary Foundation, and Washington Ministerial Association. He is on the Board of Directors at Lutheran Hillside Village, and enjoys golf, biking, racquetball, water skiing, snow skiing.
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Youngshim E. Pitcher

Associate Pastor

Pastor Youngshim has been our Associate Pastor since February of 2014. She attended Mokwon University in Daejeon, South Korea (1995 to 1999), receiving a Bachelor in Theology degree.
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From 2000 to 2002, Pastor Youngshim attended Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea and received a Th. M. She received an Master of Divinity from the Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa after attending from 2009 to 2013.

Associate Pastor Youngshim is a bilingual Korean-born American who has lived in Washington since January 31st of 2014. Her family converted from Buddhism to Christianity. Korea’s multi-cultural, multi-religious background contributed to Pastor Youngshim’s interest in spirituality. This interest led her to study Buddhism, Taoism, and Shamanism in the Korean context, along with Christianity. Pastor Youngshim counts watching movies and reading books among her interests.
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Richard J. Hanson

Visitation Pastor

Pastor Hanson has been our Visitation Pastor since 2014, after serving for five years as our interim associate pastor. A Chicago native, he has lived in Peoria for 16 years.
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He attended Lane Tech High School in Chicago, as well as Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois. He received his Master of Sacred Theology at Maywood Seminary (Lutheran School of Theology) in Maywood, Illinois.

A 1974 Who’s Who in Illinois member and recipient of the Illinois Department of Corrections’ Race Relations award in Rock Island, Pastor Hanson is also a member of the Peoria Heights Lions Club and the Senior Golf Association. He enjoys playing board games and collecting stamps.
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Julie Stewart-Hays

Parish Nurse

Julie is an R.N. who job- shares parish nurse duties with Judy. Julie helped start the Parish Nurse Program in 1998, leaving 3 years later to pursue a full-time position.
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She returned to St. Mark’s in 2005. A Washington native, Julie attended Eureka College and graduated with a B.S.N. from Mennonite College of Nursing in Bloomington, Illinois.

She has been a registered nurse for over 28 years, with nursing experience in geriatric and cardiac care, behavioral health, community health, and diabetes education.

In addition to the parish nurse position, Julie works part- time as a Diabetes Nurse educator at Advocate Eureka Hospital. She facilitates a monthly diabetes support group, which is co-sponsored by the hospital and held at St. Mark’s. Julie has two children, Hannah and Micah, with husband David Hays. Julie’s loves, in addition to family, are caring and advocating for the elderly, antiquing, interior design, and decorating on a budget.
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Judy Custer

Parish Nurse

Judy Custer is one of our parish nurses. A registered nurse, Judy is also certified in Advanced Care Directives. Judy attended the Lutheran School for Nurses in Moline, Illinois.
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She received parish nurse certification through the OSF Parish Nurse Course. She joined the St. Mark’s staff in 2013 after working in family practice, school nursing, public health, and surgical nursing. Judy has lived in the Peoria area for over 30 years.

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, quilting, and going to her grandchildren’s activities – though not necessarily in that order. Judy also volunteers at the Refresh and Retreat Stroke Camp.
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Aileeah Colgan

Director of Contemporary Worship & A-V Coordinator

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Aileeah has lived all around the central United States.
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She works at a production company in East Peoria, IL called Green Shoe Studio where she is also signed as a country artist. Aileeah’s office hours will be Mondays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
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Coming Soon

Director of Junior
and Senior High

Nancy Vogel

Director of Children
and Family Ministries


Nancy Vogel is originally from Peoria, and currently lives in Metamora with her husband, Curt, and their three children. They became members of St. Mark’s in December, 2007.
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Nancy has served on St. Mark’s Church Council for the past several years, representing the Fellowship Team and organizing church-wide fellowship events.

She currently organizes and leads a variety of women’s Bible studies and Sunday morning Bible studies for couples and parents. Nancy joined us as Director of Children and Family Ministries in July of 2014.

In her free time, Nancy enjoys Bible study, rollerblading, gardening, scrapbooking, and spending time with her family. She is a year-round volunteer for Operation Christmas Child, serving as a Church Relations Team Member. Nancy is also the Project Leader for the church’s annual shoebox collection, and acts as the Collection Center Coordinator at St. Mark’s.

A graduate of Bradley University, Nancy earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She has worked in the field of early childhood for the past 25 years as a mom, teacher, trainer of teachers, and author. She has written several books for preschool teachers, as well as many articles for parents of young children.
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Caitlin Greenwood

Childcare and
Preschool Director


Caitlin Greenwood, our Childcare and Preschool Director, began her career with St. Mark’s in 2011. She received a Bachelor of Arts, with a concentration on child development.
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She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2009. Caitlin is a member of the Director Network, as well as Alpha Sigma Lambda (National Honor Society for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning).

Her certifications include the following:

  • Illinois Director Credential - Level II - Department of Human Services
  • Early Childhood Education Credential - Level 4 - Department of Human Services
  • Infant Toddler Credential - Level 2 - Department of Human Services
  • CPR and First Aid Certified – American Heart Association
  • Born and raised in Central Illinois, Caitlin is married with two children.

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Kathy Bell


Kathy Bell has served as church organist at St. Mark’s since 2006. A Washington native, she studied Music Education at Illinois Wesleyan University.
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In addition to her musical duties, Kathy teaches music to kindergarten through fourth-grade students. In her spare time, Kathy plays for community organizations.
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Yvonne Shields


Tara Wilkey

Parish Administrator

Coming Soon


Maintenance Staff:

Dave Workman

Randy Flex