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Our Leadership and Staff

Meet the Worship Team


The Rev. Chris Pierce


The Reverend C. Christian Pierce (Chris) arrived at Grace Church in January 2012 to assume the role of Rector.  Chris was ordained to the priesthood in 1992 and holds a BA in Psychology from Eastern Nazarene College, Masters in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, and Advance Clinical Pastoral Education from Medical College of Georgia and Eisenhower Army Medical Ft. Gordon in Neurolinguistics in the clinical setting.  

Chris was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1987 and has served as Chaplain in both combat and combat support roles. He served the 101st Airborne 3/187 Infantry, 311th Military Intelligence, 501st Signal, and was the American Chaplain to the United Nations Kosovo.  He exited the Army after serving Martin Army Community Hospital as Chief of Pastoral Care.  He was distinctive honor graduate in Officer Advance Course, and Clinical Pastoral Education. His awards are Legion of Merit, Army Commendation (two oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement (three oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal, Kosovo Commendation Medal, Army Overseas Training Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Ribbon, and Air Assault Badge.  

Besides Chris’s military ministry, he has served as Canon for Education, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Peoria IL; Rector, St. Matthew’s Lincoln NE; and Rector, St. James’, Warrenton, VA. He is the founder of the Youth Missions Organization, a youth outreach program that teaches spirituality to young people.

Chris was called to the priesthood at the age of thirteen after a mystical encounter with the Sacred and he continues to listen to the deep implication of that encounter.  Although well established in the Episcopal traditions, he is not limited to the dogmas of the Western church, and teaches a broad cosmic spirituality through the mutual indwelling of God in each person.  He is a student of masters, gurus, and mystics around the world, and recently concluded his sabbatical in Bhutan, living in monasteries with incarnate lamas.  He is known for his passion for organizational development and individual conscious expansion through the life of the church.  

Chris has over thirty years of leading mission trips to Uganda, Navajo Land, and the Gullah Geechee communities of the Sea Islands of South Carolina.  His passion for missions surrounds an inner journey to discover one’s inner poverty and unity with all people despite culture, class, or race.  

Chris is married to Julie and they have four children and two grandchildren.  Julie is the Director of Grace Academy.  Their home is a sacred space, filled with peace, love, and radical hospitality. They live with a dog, three cats, fish inside and out, and gardens.  Meditation begins at their home every day before sunrise.  On Sunday nights, they host a dinner for young people to teach and mentor meditative ways to navigate life.   


Andrew Paul Fredel

Minister of Music

Andrew Fredel came to Grace Church in August of 2016 to serve as Minister of Music, having previously served an historic Episcopal church in Minneapolis.


The prayer of the Grace community, particularly as shared through music and liturgy, is a source of joy, life, and profound hope for Andrew. Hearing, nurturing, and accompanying the varied voices of the congregation, cantors, and choirs are some of his greatest delights; working with instrumentalists from the community provides a welcome accent.


Andrew heard the organ soon after he was born, fell in love with the instrument as a young boy, and started playing regularly for services while still in eighth grade. Years of formal training and education earned him undergrad (Oberlin Conservatory) and graduate (Valparaiso University) degrees, as well as a few awards for his playing.


Growing up a Lutheran Christian, Mr. Fredel attended seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where he received an MA in Theology, with concentrations in Liturgy and Sacred Music.


God's voice and the breath of the Spirit have stirred Andrew to discernment about rostered ministry, and he is now an aspirant for the permanent diaconate. With the generous and collegial support of Fr. Chris and the Grace staff, he engages in a collaborative ministry serving the Grace community.

Our Staff


Julie Pierce

Academy Director


Tera Sternitzke

Director of Finance


Sherry Thorburn

Church Administrator

John Robinson.jpeg

John Robinson


David Erpenbach

Property Manager

Technical Operations

Meet the Vestry


Mike Ascher

Senior Warden

Mike is a lifelong Episcopalian who has attended Grace, first with his parents Rick and Caroline, and now with his family, for ... long enough that everyone is probably sick of hearing about it. He and his wife Polly and their three children Emily (18), Annie (16), and Hugh (12) have been regular attendees at Grace since moving to Clarendon Hills in 2005. The Ascher family has been active in Grace Church in Vestry, formation and fellowship groups, mission trips and choir, and acolyting and pancake making. For the last two years, Mike has served as Junior Warden of Grace Church. Emily, Annie and Hugh all attended preschool at Grace. 

Mike is a Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa, where he helps law firm partners find the best platform for their particular practice. Mike obtained his undergraduate degree from Duke University, and his law degree from The University of California at Los Angeles. He enjoys cooking with Polly, playing golf with Emily, attending the opera with Annie, and watching sports with Hugh.

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