Meet the Staff

Reverend Doctor Hannah Hwa-Young Chong

Lead Pastor

Ext 1006, Email

Pastor Hannah is an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference. She was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in a Christian/Buddhist family. She came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in theology. Her original plan was to go back to Korea after finishing her studies, but God had a different plan!

She loves parish ministry and considers the church to be a dynamic movement through which all people of God work together to bring positive transformations in the world. She is passionate about sharing God’s love and grace through mission and ministry. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston.

Pastor Hannah loves books, music, arts, walking, and traveling. She and her husband Tom enjoy going to Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, and Art Institute of Chicago for their time together. Her older daughter Dahee is a consultant at Deloitte in Chicago. Her younger daughter, Minji, has just graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, with a major in Music Education and a minor in Jazz Studies.

Her Korean name “Hwa-Young” means eternal peace.

Chris Garofalo

Director of Music Ministry & Organist

Ext 1006, Email

Chris Garofalo has been active as a pianist and accompanist in the Chicago area for over 30 years and has composed works for solo piano, voice, choir and chamber ensembles.

As a soloist with orchestra, he has performed in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. In 1990, he appeared on the television series Music Alive! sponsored by the Chicago Department of Film and Entertainment. With a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, he previously administered a program of classical music and professional soloists for 27 years in Hinsdale. Mr. Garofalo maintains a private teaching studio in Westmont.

In addition, he is a former President and current board member of the Downers Grove Music Club, a charitable non-profit arts organization that provides free monthly music concert programs, a Piano Festival, Student Music Awards and community donations to foster music performance and education in the Downers Grove area.

His recording, Silhouettes, released 2005, features 12 original compositions for solo piano and the original song cycle Within the Circle of the Seasons with tenor Henry Pleas. The four poems are from Edward Searl’s collection of seasonal reflections Beggar’s Bouquet. Previous recordings, produced by Melinda Perrin, include: Left Brain/Right Brain (1998), Earth Air Fire Water (1989), Luminaria (1990), and Soliloquy (1991). In 1999, he accompanied tenor Henry Pleas on his first CD: Deep River: A Spiritual Journey. Chris’ Suite for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano and Sonata for Flute and Piano are featured in David Gaynes’ 2013 documentary film “Next Year Jerusalem.” Chris Garofalo is a Steinway Artist.

Ed Green

Media Services

Email

Ed has over 42 years of experience in all aspects of video and media production, currently running his own production company, Green Digital Media. He coordinates a staff of about 20 volunteers, youth and adult, live-streaming our worship services every Sunday. Ed is also a member of the OnCenter band, singing and playing guitar almost every Sunday. Ed has been married for over 36 years to his lovely wife, June, and has two grown sons.

Amy Hollander

OnCenter Worship Leader

Ext 1000, Email

Bio to come.

Kyle Markwell

Director of OnCenter Music

Ext 1009, Email

Kyle has been a part of CUMC since before he was born! He studied music performance at Joliet Junior College and Illinois State University and is a drum set instructor at Clarendon Hills Music Academy. Kyle played with the OnCenter band for more than 10 years and now comes to us from serving as a freelance musician at the Union Church of Hinsdale. In this role, working closely with Pastor Hannah and Pastor Jeremiah, Kyle coordinates the musical components of the OnCenter worship service.

Deacon Sharon Rice

Minister of Discipleship

Ext 1004, Email

Bio to come

Suzanne Wills

Administrative Assistant

Ext 1000, Email

Suzanne Wills is Community UMC s Administrative Assistant. Suzanne originally hails from Dublin, Ireland; she moved to the States in 1992. She has over 30 years of experience as an office administrator and over 25 years as a graphic designer. Suzanne is active in Community Players and plays electric bass with the OnCenter band. She is absolutely thrilled to be on staff at Community UMC, which she has called her church home since 1993.

Onsite Hours: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Mon – Thu • Remote: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Fri.