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Senior Pastor - The Rev. Cathy Daharsh
My call to Bethany began in August 2015. Before I was called to Bethany, I served at Gilbert Lutheran Church in Gilbert, Iowa. I am a graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary where I earned a Master of Divinity degree. Prior to beginning ordained ministry, I served First United Lutheran in Sheboygan, WI, as Director of Youth and Family Ministry. I also was an elementary teacher and a high school volleyball coach in Sheboygan. I have been married to Tom. We have two adult children, Aaron and Mitchell. Some of my interests are playing volleyball, reading, and spending time with my family and friends.
My leadership is rooted in strong honest relationships. My hope and dream for the community of Bethany is to embrace who they are in Christ and to find new and innovative ways to communicate a rich outreach focus to the larger community. It is important to me to listen to members of the congregation and members of the community of Crystal Lake to discover what Christ is doing in this place and to equip and empower leaders to serve the needs of our community and our world.
I hope when you come to visit our church you find it to be a place where you can let your hair down and be exactly who you are. You are invited, come as you are!
Associate Pastor - The Rev. Paul Cannon
I was called to Bethany in August of 2012 after receiving my Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota). I married my wife Kirstin in 2010, and we have two kids - a boy and a girl. This is not the first time for me being called to Bethany, however. I was baptized at this congregation, along with my identical twin brother Neal, and my sisters, Susie and Marybeth. My family moved away when I was only five years old, but through a random series of events (also known as the Holy Spirit), I was called back here to serve and love the people of Bethany.
My job here is to faithfully preach the gospel, love my neighbor and serve whomever God happens to put in my path. Sometimes that means presiding at a wedding, and sometimes that means praying with a person who comes in off the streets. The best part of my job, however, is working with the youth of Bethany. Whether teaching Confirmation, weekly Youth Group, or going on mission trips, I am always inspired by the faithful witness of our young people.
Bethany is a warm, welcoming congregation to ALL people. I hope you can join us!
Worship Director - Ruth Ann Poppen
I spent my childhood on a farm in northern Illinois where animals and crops were much more abundant than people. Music lessons on various instruments, drama experiences and many church activities played a vital role in my development. Following graduation from Wartburg College, I spent 14 years teaching elementary and junior high vocal music in the Cedar Rapids public schools. During that same time I served as organist at several area Lutheran churches.
In 1991, I earned my Master of Arts degree, with an emphasis in church music, from Wartburg Theological Seminary. In August of that same year, I began serving as a fulltime church musician. I have served at Immanuel Lutheran in Palatine, Edison Park Lutheran Church in Chicago and now at Bethany.
I am especially grateful for the opportunity to share God’s marvelous gift of music with people of all ages. I find it most rewarding to help both children and adults express and strengthen their faith through music. The talented and committed people of Bethany keep Bethany’s music ministry vibrant and strong and I am energized as we witness together through music.
Director of Children and Family Ministries - Sashire Ayares
I serve as our Director of Children and Family Ministries. I have a background in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Business Management. I have a passion for guiding children as they develop an understanding of the world around them and grow in their relationship with God.
I attended Bethany Lutheran as a child. My family and I have been members at Bethany since 2012. My husband Jeremy and I have four incredible children; Hannah, Logan, Aiden, and Arlo. As you can imagine, a crew that big keeps us very busy and involved in many community activities. We share a love for our scouting program, baseball, education, and anything on wheels!
Office Administrator - Jody McKesson
I serve as Office Administrator at Bethany Lutheran. My role is to support the staff, so they are better able to serve the members of the congregation. I'm the friendly (and, hopefully, knowledgeable) face that will greet you with a smile at the front desk, and help you with whatever you need.
I have been a member of Bethany since 1986. I am a retired educator, having spent the past twenty years teaching second graders in Cary. I have a grown daughter, Rachel, who lives in Green Bay, WI, with her husband, Jay, and their two cats. In my spare time, I like to read, and sing with Voices in Harmony, a community choir based in Crystal Lake. Please stop into the office if I can help you in any way -you are always welcome!
Director of Communication and Outreach - Maria Bruno
I serve as the Director of Communication and Outreach here at Bethany Lutheran Church. I help coordinate volunteers and outreach. I also manage the online streaming of our services and digital communication with our congregation.
I attended Valparaiso University where I studied creative writing and humanities with a minor in digital media. I then went on to graduate school at the University of Virginia where I studied religious studies with a concentration in theology, ethics, and culture. After spending much of my education reading and learning about community, I am excited be a part of the Bethany Lutheran Community!