Staff

Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”Acts 20:28
“Where I am, my servant also will be.” — John 12:26


Pastor Mark Sundberg
Interim Pastor

Pastor Mark Sundberg retired from the ELCA ordained roster in 2019 after serving Peace Lutheran Church in Lake Zurich, Illinois as solo pastor for 20 years. Before being assigned interim pastor at Living Lord Lutheran, he served interim ministry at St. Andrew Lutheran, Mundelein, St. Stephen Lutheran, Antioch, and St. James Lutheran in Lake Forest, each for approximately a year. He served Lebanon Lutheran Church on the Southeast side of Chicago from 1994 to 1999. He was ordained on October 23, 1994 at Immanuel Lutheran in Evanston, Illinois. His theological education is from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He received the Master of Divinity degree from LSTC in 1994. Before attending seminary, Mark spent several years pursuing a career as a classical singer after graduating from North Park University, singing solo in opera and concert, and also in professional choruses in the Chicago area.

Mark is married to Jean Bishop, a professional flutist, who is principal flutist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. They have one daughter, Annika, who is pipe organist/music director at Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Barrington. Annika is also degreed in viola performance, and works regularly as a free lance violist in the Chicago area.

Pastor Mark has been leading worship at Living Lord since Ash Wednesday. He began full time ministry at the church in July. Mark loves to garden and to cook.

Bob Esmail
Director of Youth and Family Ministries

Bob’s main responsibility is to oversee the development and growth of Living Lord’s Youth and Family Ministry. This ministry focuses on the faith development of the entire family. Under this model, the church provides resources and helps build relationships within families and the church community. Bob also leads teen Bible studies and a variety of weekly youth activities, coordinates the teen small group ministry, plans and leads mission trips, assists with the Confirmation Program for seventh and eighth graders, and helps with Midweek MANIA, our ministry to fifth and sixth graders.

Bob and his family have been members of Living Lord for more than 16 years. Before joining the church staff, he was actively involved in working with the youth of Living Lord for more than 10 years as a volunteer. Bob finds the most rewarding part of his job is that “the youth trust and accept me as a friend and mentor. They invite me into their lives.” He’s found that these relationships have brought him closer to God through the teens’ “authenticity and honest love for Christ.” 

Steve Ricci
Director of Sunday School and Youth Choir

After a 41 year career in the transportation industry and 24 years as a Sunday School volunteer, Steve joined the Staff of Living Lord in 2019 as Director of Sunday School and Youth Choir. Steve taught Sunday School for five years and along with Mary Ellen, his wife, has led the Music portion of this ministry for 24 years. As Sunday School Director Steve oversees programs for preschoolers, and grades K -6. He is responsible for curriculum selection, recruiting volunteer staffing, coordinating training, purchasing supplies, and teaching and adhering to our Safe Haven training. Each summer, Steve is also responsible for the selection and oversight of VBS, managing over 150 children, parents and teens in this vibrant and exciting faith journey. Additionally, Steve facilitates communication among the parents, church staff, and church council.

Steve has been an active participant in vocal and instrumental music his entire life. He and Mary Ellen lead the JOY! Choir, for 1st through 8th grade children and The Little J’s, a weekly parent/child music and Bible story ministry for preschool and kindergarten age children. Steve and Mary Ellen also direct the yearly Living Lord Christmas Pageant, managing over 50 children, teens, and adults in the telling of the Christ child’s birth. Steve and his family have been members of Living Lord for more than 25 years.

Susie Balgeman
Office Administrator

Susie serves as the office receptionist, assists in managing worship-assistant schedules; helps prepare weekly worship materials, coordinates mailings; performs data entry; copies bulletins and other printed items, and assists with record keeping and special projects that come up on a daily basis. Susie also creates the weekly e-mail newsletter.  (Find the latest issue here!)

Susie has been a member of Living Lord since 2009. Her children are active in the youth programs and she also serves as a volunteer in several ministries including heading up "Midweek Mania" for our 4th-6th grade youth on Wednesday evenings. When not at Living Lord, Susie can be found working as a substitute teacher in school district U-46, planning future travel adventures for her family, or cheering on the South Elgin Storm.