Head of Staff
Pastor Caleb Suydam has been Park Church’s solo pastor and head of staff since 2017. Caleb was born and raised in Farmington, Illinois, where he grew up as part of First Presbyterian Church there. He graduated from Northern Illinois University, and after many years of running from the sense of call he had been feeling, finally admitted that God was calling him to pastoral ministry, and he enrolled in the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. After graduation, he married his wife, Jennifer Suydam (a fellow UDTS student), and began serving as the pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Nevada, Iowa, where he served until being called to Park Church.
“There is often this misconception that pastors are somehow ‘Super-Christians.’ Like they’ve got a more direct line to God than anybody else, and like they’ve got this whole faith business totally figured out. But the truth is, we’re people like everybody else, and we are oftentimes struggling through our faith like any other person trying to follow Christ. The only real difference is that we’ve had more education and training in theology, etc. I think one of the great privileges of being a pastor is getting to struggle and work through this alongside other Christians who are trying to do the same thing and being able to use your training to help others along the way.”
Cathy came to Park Church in June of 2010 after working as a Community Organizer for 24 years at the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley. In that capacity, she was coordinator of the Streator Community Youth Program which served youth and families in the area.
Other than Cathy, the youth program was made possible strictly through the work of volunteers who not only planned events but also raised the money to make them possible. The program dissolved June 30, 2010, when YSB lost the contract with the state.
Although Cathy is not a member of Park Church, she has developed many friendships in her time there. She belongs to the MorningStar Quilters group and has learned much from other members. She joined the Quilt group not only to make quilts for herself but the group also donate quilts to places such as nursing homes and schools as well as make blankets for the local Guardian Angel and school bags for a mission of the church.
Cathy is the mother of three, Laura, Ken and Mike. She has several grandchildren and great grandchildren. In 2011, she married Joe Fialko and they adopted their fur baby, Ross.
I am married to my friend and partner of 50 years, John (Jack) and we have two daughters, Jennette Weiss of Yorkville and Kristine McGurkin of Bristol, New Hampshire. We have four grandchildren – Lexi, Zach and Bree Weiss and Owen McGurkin.
I have been a member of Park Presbyterian Church since 1965, transferring from Grand Ridge Presbyterian Church. Served as an Elder, Deacon and been on the following committees - Mission/Stewardship, Nominations, Music/Worship, Park Place, and Finance/Properties Committees.
I have been a member of the Hardscrabble Lions since 2008, serving as President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and chairs of Free Lunch and Pluto Fest. Keeping Christmas Close To Home asked Hardscrabble Lions to partner with them on their fundraisers and helped with ours. I am a representative of the Lions on the KCCH committee.
I volunteer at the Streator Community Food Pantry and have recently been appointed as co-manager of the Cancer Patient Resource Center.
I have been a member of Park Church my whole life, having been baptized by Rev. Smith on Easter Sunday 1953. I was confirmed by Rev. Stanton in 1966 and Rev. Beenken performed our marriage ceremony in 1978.
I was married to Glenn Loving for 39 years and am now a widow. I have three daughters, three sons-in-law and four grandchildren. All of them live fairly close and we spend a lot of time together.
I attended SHS and ISU where I received a degree in Business Education. I worked several years as a Legal Secretary for a couple of law firms until we moved back to Streator to begin farming. We farmed with my parents until they retired then took over the family operation. Additionally, we had a candy making business, Loving Touch Brittle. For 35 years we made peanut, pecan and cashew brittle which we sold in multiple locations. For 13 years I worked from home as the Secretary-Treasurer of an insurance company. I substitute taught for local schools for about 10 years. For the past 15 years I have been the Eagle Township Assessor. I’ll retire from that job in December. I have been the Financial Secretary at Park Church since 2008.
I still live on the family farm which is operated by a neighbor tenant. My hobbies include gardening, food preservation, crocheting, baking and genealogy.
Nancy is the organist at Park Church. She studied pipe organ at Illinois Wesleyan with Lillian Meherle McCord. Nancy has been providing music at Park since 2012.