393 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
phone: 630-858-1020

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Welcome Justin Backstrom Our New Youth Minister

Please join me in welcoming Justin Backstrom as our Youth Minister. Working with youth in 6-12th grades, Justin will be responding to the needs of youth in our church to strengthen and grow our youth ministry.

Justin has been involved in St. Mark’s since August of 2017 when he attended the “Try Choir” night. Having experienced warmth of the community and musical connectedness from that point on he has been singing as a tenor at the 10:30 am Sunday service.   He holds a Bachelor’s in Human Biology from Logan College in St. Louis and a Master’s of Education in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.   For 6 years Justin taught high school science and senior research to students facing down high crime and poverty in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.   In addition to teaching science he was part of the restorative justice team, leading students to help each other co-create alternatives to disciplinary action and restore harms done. During the summers Justin led groups of inner city students in 6 week employment programs at Midewin Tallgrass Prairie in Joliet via the National Forest Foundation.   Students were paid to work and learn about prairie history and restoration as well as developing teamwork skills and grit.   When not doing that he could be found windsurfing on Lake Michigan or playing guitar and ukulele, his two great passions.

In addition to Youth Ministry Justin is the facilitator of the Monday evening Bible contemplation group and is part of the Pastor Care Team at St. Mark’s having gone through the Bishop Andersen House Education program. Justin’s first experience with youth at St. Mark’s was as a volunteer chaperone for the Appalachia Service Project in the summer of 2018.   The combination of bluegrass music and bonding of the youth around a common deeper purpose left a lasting impression.   His mission is to weave that energy of shared purpose, inclusion, service and spiritual expression into the Youth Program at St. Mark’s. Justin believes that a strong spiritual foundation is the most powerful place from which to make decisions, especially when concerning youth who in today’s world can struggle to find their gifts and purpose.

As Justin gets started as our youth minister, Cynthia Mote, who has served as our interim youth minister, will continue to assist with Sunday school and confirmation classes and other youth events. You may contact Justin at the office – 630-858-1020 ext 233 or by email at jfbackstrom@gmail.com

 

–        George