World Cafe Team

Roger Wilson
Ruling Elder
Chicago Fourth Presbyterian Church

What excites me about World Café? The unknown is the best part about a process that gives a wide variety of people an opportunity to be heard and contribute to the future of the Presbytery of Chicago.

What has been my favorite job? For my last three years of corporate life I was Chief of Staff of the information technology department. That’s not the head of the department but a direct report who does a lot of special projects, plans and conducts department meetings, and even some great social events.


Nancy Kim Phillips
Ruling Elder
Evanston Northminster Presbyterian Church

What excites you about World Café? The opportunity to engage in spirit-led conversations about the possibilities for community.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? I love walking to the lake and sitting on “my” rock.  I listen to the waves, feel the sunshine and the breeze on my face, watch the birds, and marvel at the colors.

I’ve enjoyed playing in the bell choir for a few years now.  I like how each individual is important to the whole group. When you are playing bells, you aren’t ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future. You are Just. Playing. Bells.

I volunteer as a tutor for adult ESL students one evening a week, at Evanston Township High School.  The students come from Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Senegal, Albania, Greece, and Ukraine; they range in age from young adults to seniors.  They are very inspiring.

What are you most proud of in your life?  One thing I am proud of is the photo book I made of my mother’s paintings, which she had created over forty years.  Together, the pictures illustrate a life of beauty, love, generosity, and faith.  She inscribed the books and gave them to friends and family shortly before she passed away, prompting many last letters and phone calls.  It brought her joy to connect with each person, and the book now is a reminder of her to so many loved ones.  I’m grateful to have gotten that one right.


Marilyn McKenna
Education Coordinator
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America

What excites you about World Café?  I am very excited about the opportunities to deepen existing relationships and to build new relationships with mutual respect and deep listening that the World Cafe process provides. The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) has worked with the Presbytery of Chicago for more than twenty years on human rights issues in our hemisphere and we appreciate the opportunity to learn together during this time of reflection and renewal.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies?  I really enjoy working with U.S. and Cuban partners to create opportunities for  meaningful dialogue between the people of both countries.

What are you most proud of in your life?  When the work of CRLN and its partners have caused a change in an unjust U.S. policy in the world I am very inspired by the power of people working together.


David B. Thornton
Teaching Elder
Sixth-Grace Presbyterian Church

Why did you want to serve on the World Cafe design team? I decided to be a part of the Café team in an effort to hold the group accountable and to agitate it appropriately towards the end of always discerning and thinking with inclusivity in mind. To this end, as I project about life together as a Presbytery, I envision multiple paradigms of communication, liturgy, to celebrate a glorious tapestry, that bears increasing resemble to the beloved community of God.

What was your first job? My first part-time job was that of serving as a micro-filmer of bank records and teller at a savings and loan association in Columbus, GA. In 1975. I had to carefully film old bank records, as they had to be archived for a certain period of time. This work was done in the basement area of the bank and was very tedious, not much excitement. It was the highlight of my work schedule, however, when I was able to serve as a bank teller and thus help customers to attend to their banking needs. This opportunity afforded me a chance to have brief conversation with a multiplicity of personalities. I enjoy meeting people and thus work was always fun and exciting as a teller.


Lisa M. López
Teaching Elder, Representative from the Verge
Christ Presbyterian Church, Hanover Park, IL

Why did you want to serve on the World Café design host team?  I wanted to serve on the World Café design host team because I believe there is already more of a shared vision across the Presbytery of Chicago than we regularly see. I am confident that the World Cafes will help us come to a place where this shared vision can emerge, we can articulate it, own it as a body, and most importantly, recognize the work of the Spirit leading the way.

What is something unique about you?  I once (by accident) took a surprisingly thorough class on ”the art of saving space”. As a result I can pack incredibly tight suitcases, a skill which comes in handy when traveling places where you can’t predict the weather, helping friends reduce the amount of their moving boxes, and making the most of tiny Sunday School closets.


Jon Phillips
Teaching Elder
Evergreen Park Presbyterian Church

What excites you about World Cafe? The possibilities to open up currents of conversation within the presbytery and our partners.

What is something unique about you?  I am an official for women’s flat track roller derby.


Robret Simpson
Director of Operations
Facing Forward to End Homelessness

What excites you about World Café?  The World Café is an opportunity for people from multiple backgrounds and cultures to work together towards building stronger communities.  It is exciting to be a part of a dynamic, supportive and committed team.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies?  Favorite activities include photography, cooking, reading and spending time with my family and friends. 

What is next on your bucket list?  I am currently in school pursuing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration; my goal is to complete that and continue advancing in Non-Profit management.


Maggie McGuire
Commissioner, Ruling Elder
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago

What excites you about World Café?  Six months ago I had never heard the phrase “World Cafe.”  If I had, my mind’s eye would have imagined a cafe serving coffee and pastries from around the world in a setting with art and music from many cultures, as well as magazines and newspapers in a variety of languages.   The name on the shingle of my imaginary cafe could have read, The Inclusion Infusion. 

While the Presbytery of Chicago World Cafe is not exactly as I have described above, it will be a gathering where all are invited for coffee or tea in a welcoming space with food and conversation that nourishes the body and soul, and when the evening concludes we will leave infused with excitement and hope of things to come.  That is my hope.

What draws me to and energizes me about World Cafe is its integrity, its inclusivity, and the increment it will add to the foundation the POC already has.  Our World Cafe will be a gathering of congregants, shared mission partners, and ecumenical partners throughout the Presbytery to converse about an issue or discuss a question that really matters to our life or our work or our community.  Through these conversations, held over a course of weeks, or perhaps months, a shared vision of the new thing God is doing will emerge. 

For me World Cafe has integrity because that vision at this moment is an unknown.  The vision will be truly co-created by the participants.  It is bottom up, not top down.  I am also drawn to World Cafe because it is inclusive.  All are invited and heard, even the introverts like myself!  Conversations take place at tables for four or five, and people move from table to table throughout the evening, acting as cross pollinators of ideas and insights.  As conversations connect together, a shared knowledge evolves.  Together we co-create our future. 

What are your favorite activities/hobbies?  I love to cook, but not on demand.  Part of what makes Sunday my favorite day of the week is the joy of spending an entire afternoon in the kitchen.  Organics now form a growing part of my diet, and I recently discovered lacinato kale, a darker, thicker leaf than curly kale with a lumpy texture.  It is organically grown and readily available at Jewel.  One afternoon I felt like experimenting and sauteed some red onion in coconut oil, deglazed the pan with the juice of a lime, added some ginger and cilantro, butternut squash, kale, brown rice made with homemade stock, and a handful of dried cranberries.  Yum!  Add a few decibels of WFMT and a friend or family, and it becomes the perfect day.


Veronica Kyle
Outreach Director
Faith in Place

What was your first job or your favorite job? Retail and Fashion Merchandising

What is something unique about you? I’ve lived in several countries and danced in worship with Bishop Desmond Tutu.

What are you most proud of in your life? Making it possible for dozens of youth and young adults to get an education in some of the most prestigious schools in the world. Also having the opportunity to speak all over the world on the issues such as race and gender.


Jefferson Caldeira
Vida Nueva Presbyterian Church

What excites you about World Café? I am excited about the possibility of collaborating with the Presbytery of Chicago in their quest to define his vision for the future and to provide the Hispanic ingredient to this vision.

What are you most proud of in your life and what is something unique about you? I am passionate about church and am proud to have worked in different countries serving the Presbyterian Church, I served in Brasil, Bolivia, Chile, Puerto Rico and now in Chicago, in fact, my family represent this “journey” because I’m Brazilian, my wife (Tatiana) is Bolivian my daughter (Talitha) is Chilean and my son (Felipe) is Puerto Rican.


Barb Vaughan
Berkeley-Hillside Presbyterian Church
Pastor (CLP)

What excites you about World Café?  I love the connectional nature we talk about as Presbyterians because I’ve experienced it. It’s exciting to think of it becoming a transformational reality that can empower congregations, as well as their leaders.

Why did you want to serve on the World Café design host team? I didn’t know I did until I was asked. Change challenges me, it’s a growing edge so I felt led to it.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? I’m a fairly recent knitting addict, having graduated from scarves and cowls to afghans, sweaters, and socks. I also love reading, baking, singing, and being an incipient cat lady.

What is next on your bucket list? We enjoy our annual vacations. This year we’re exploring Disney World and next year we’re going with friends to see the full eclipse of the sun.

What was your first job or your favorite job? My very first job was as a checker for KMart. My favorite job? The two I have now: IT Support at McCormick and Pastor for Berkeley-Hillside.

What is something unique about you?  I have a huge cookbook collection that my husband laments even as he continues to add to his technology collection.

What are you most proud of in your life? I don’t think I’ve done it yet.

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