Rev. Mark Gregory became our Pastor in August of 2008. He had previously served at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Barrington IL.
Pastor Mark is a lifetime member of the United Church of Christ, having been baptized and confirmed in the Westchester Community Church, in Westchester, IL, way back in 1954.
Mark attended Western Illinois University, for four years, graduating in 1976 having earned a Bachelor of Business degree with a major in Marketing. He then spent 26 years as an independent manufacturer’s sales representative in the Chicago area.
Mark received his Master of Divinity degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL, which he attended from 1997-2004.
Mark lives in Yorkville, IL, with his wife of 18 years, Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie.
Mark and Michelle love to travel, especially to visit their 3 grandchildren in CA, and our amazing National Parks. Mark loves hiking and backpacking in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. He also enjoys reading, listening to ALL kinds of music, walking and playing with his two dogs (Golden Retriever Mesa and rescue mutt Madison), working with tools, and spending time with family and friends.
From Pastor Mark
If there be any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being of full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:1-5
I believe that as Christians we are called to “be Christ” to others, to give ourselves to others Christ gave himself to us. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to look for the good in all people. And we are to extend ourselves for others. Our God is The God of covenant relationship, and I believe God desires for us to be in loving covenantal relationship with God, and with each other.
As “Christ-Ones”, we are to teach about the Gospel through our words, but even more through our actions (Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light shine before all people in such a way that they may see your good works and give glory to God who is in heaven.”). I believe Jesus Christ has called us to love people into the Gospel, by accepting them where they are, as they are. I was proud to be a part of the process that resulted in Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ becoming an “Open and Affirming” congregation.
I also believe that we are called to stand for justice in this world (Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”). I know that based on the experiences of my life, based on the places I feel called to work and serve, that working for peace and justice are a part of what God expects of me, expects of all of us who claim Christ as our brother and Savior.
On the Bible
I love helping adults and kids alike explore the Bible and discover how it applies to our life today. I believe the Bible is the “inspired Word of God”, not the literal Word of God. It is a book of history, wisdom, consolation and witness. It is both his-story, and her-story. An although the Bible comes to us out of an ancient culture, so it is necessary to understand the Bible stories in their original context in order to understand its truth for us today. And I believe that through the movement of, and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “there is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Word” for each of us, in our time and place.