Tabor Church Leadership
Tabor Church is blessed to have a leadership team who are truly dedicated to Christ and accomplishing His will. Following are brief bios of our leadership team and their qualifications for ministry.
Pastor Phil was called to serve as Tabor Church's Pastor in February of 2016. Pastor is a strong preacher and teacher who loves our congregation and our neighborhood. God has given him a burden for those often overlooked in society so he dreams, plans, and acts with others in our community who are concerned about social justice issues.
Prior to moving to Chicago, Phil served as Associate Pastor and Director of Adult Ministry at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Urbandale, Iowa. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1999 with a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology, and he received his Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2009.
Pastor Phil has been happily married for over 20 years to his wife, Heather. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
Favorite thing about Tabor:
People at Tabor are willing to take chances to love and serve others for Jesus. They have a Kingdom mindset and they'll never say, "we can't" or "that's not how we do it here." Throughout the visioning and rebuilding process, I have seen dedicated people eager to listen, explore new ideas, love, and serve our neighbors.
Pastor Walter Ramirez
Associate Pastor, Director of Latino Ministry
El pastor Walter Ramírez es originario de Guatemala, en Centroamérica. Él y su esposa, Nivia, tienen 5 hijos y 6 nietos. El pastor Ramírez estudió en el Colegio Castillo Córdova de Ciudad de Guatemala, especializándose en tipografía y fotomontaje. Emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1994. En 2011 fue admitido en el Seminario Concordia St. Louis, Missouri y se graduó en 2015. Fue llamado e instalado como Pastor Asociado en la Iglesia Luterana Cross en Yorkville, IL en 2016.
Pastor Walter Ramirez is originally from Guatemala in Central America. He and his wife, Nivia, have 5 children and 6 grandchildren. Pastor Ramirez studied at the Castillo Cordova College in Guatemala City specializing in typography and photomontage. He immigrated to the United States in 1994. In 2011 he was admitted to Concordia Seminary St. Louis, Missouri and graduated in 2015. He was called and installed as Associate Pastor at Cross Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL in 2016.
Emily Pacyga has been in leadership at Tabor since 2017. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Emily brings tons of varied experience to the table; from gifted floral designer to business owner and everything in between. She is an enthusiastic go getter and a valued team member. As Executive Director, her primary responsibilities include accounting, church property, church administration, and much more.
Emily, her husband Norm, and their three children became members of Tabor in 2015 after church shopping for a number of years.
Favorite Thing About Tabor
Tabor felt like family from the second we stepped in. It's a body of believers that has everything you're missing in life and everything that church is actually supposed to be. It's a place where we can love each other to pieces even when we disagree because of our love for God and desire to follow His plan for us.
Heather Robarge taught secondary English Language Arts for 15 years in 4 different states, and especially enjoyed her last five years teaching English Language Learners in Iowa. In addition to working at Tabor, she works for Chicago Public Schools as a Special Eduction Classroom Assistant. Heather has always loved forging relationships with people of different cultures and experiences. Her warmth and genuine concern for others is contagious.
Heather and Phil are grateful for their 3 adult children and super adorable 5 grandchildren.
Favorite Thing About Tabor
The Pastor (haha)! Actually, I love that Tabor is full of people who aren't interested in putting on a show for others. It's refreshing to be a member of a church where people bring their good, bad, and ugly to the table, lay it out, and walk with others toward Jesus who makes us whole.
Elder and Resident Creative
Steve Kowbel became a leader at Tabor in 2021, though his involvement with Tabor began five years prior. He is a potter, photographer, and musician among other things and has vast professional experiences in various ministry roles.
Kowbel's creative gifts and dedication are a tremendous asset to us, and Tabor is grateful that he has taken on the role of Elder and volunteer Resident Creative. Steve assists pastor with the creative process, runs the tech side of church, and is developing the creative arm of ministry at Tabor.
Steve and his wife Amy enjoy the great energy and creativity found in Chicagoland. Steve has two adult children and one grandchild in the Des Moines area.