Our Staff

Rev. Jon Nielson
Senior Pastor

pastorjon2Pastor Jon accepted the call to be Spring Valley's Senior Pastor in 2017. Pastor Jon earned a BA in English literature at Wheaton College in 2005 and received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in 2010. He expects to receive his Doctor of Ministry from TEDS this year. He was ordained in the PCA (Chicago Metro Presbytery) in 2010.

From 2015 to 2017, Pastor Jon was the student ministry director at Princeton University for Christian Union. Before that, he was high school and college pastor at College Church in Wheaton for six years. From 2005 to 2009, he was in residency training at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, where he became assistant pastor.

Jon and his wife, Jeanne, both grew up in the Chicago suburbs with Jon’s parents still living in Wheaton, and Jeanne’s parents still living in Arlington Heights. Jon and Jeanne have three daughters, Adelyn, Averie, and Emilie.

Pablo Herrera
Director of Family and Congregational Life

pablo1Pablo has been a member of Spring Valley since 2007 and an elder since 2009. When he came to an understanding of the Reformed Faith, he searched for a church that shared those beliefs and found Spring Valley on the internet. He and his wife Angela stayed at Spring Valley because of the sense of community and emphasis on expository preaching.

Pablo is from River Grove (a Chicago suburb). He and Angela were married in 2006, and have two children, Isabel and Stephen. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Trinity International University in 2007, and was licensed to preach in July of 2017 by the Chicago Metro Presbytery. He is currently pursing his Master’s degree through Reformed Theological Seminary. In his free time, Pablo enjoys weight training, martial arts, reading all sorts of genres, listening to good old thrash metal, movies, apologetics, and spending time with his wife and kids. He also loves food and cooking, especially Mexican food, pizza, and steak.

Contact Pablo at pablo.herrera@springvalleypres.org.

Elizabeth Kapitaniuk
Music Director

Elizabeth1

Elizabeth joined the Spring Valley Presbyterian Church community as Music Director in 2017. She lives in Wheaton with her family, where she grew up. Elizabeth graduated from Wheaton College in 2017 with a degree in Music Education. During her time at Wheaton she was heavily involved in the music ensembles: playing clarinet in the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra; playing in a jazz combo; singing in the Concert Choir; and conducting the choir, band, and orchestra in multiple concert performances.

As a young child, Elizabeth attended Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville until her family started attending College Church in Wheaton in 2007. For the past few years, she has been involved in leading worship in Sunday services through playing, singing, and conducting. She is very excited to draw upon her past performing, teaching, and directing experiences as she humbly serves in leading worship at SVPC.

Kirsten Ryken
Ministry Intern

kirsten1

Kirsten joined the SVPC community in August 2017 as the staff’s first-ever Ministry Intern. She is currently a senior at Wheaton College and expects to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Christian Education in May 2018. She hopes to go into full-time ministry in the future and plans to go to seminary for graduate school.

Kirsten grew up in the PCA at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pa. Her passion for ministry began to grow at a young age through serving in children’s ministry at church and participating in local outreach around the greater Philadelphia area with her youth group every summer. She has continued to serve in various children’s ministry roles at College Church in Wheaton over the last 7 years. In college, Kirsten has enjoyed serving with the Residence Life team at Wheaton, providing student care for about 100 freshman women throughout the last 2 years. In her free-time, she enjoys hiking, reading, listening to a wide array of musical genres, and spending time with her family and friends.

Emily Plach
Office Coordinator

emily1Emily has been a member of Spring Valley since 1985, and joined our staff as Office Coordinator in 1995, after volunteering to help in the office in 1994. She is a constant presence in the office during the week, responsible for most of the administrative aspects of the church office. She says, “My job should be to free up the pastors to focus on leading Spring Valley.” Her favorite aspect of her job is working with the people of Spring Valley!

Emily came to Spring Valley looking for a church where her children could learn about God. She continues to worship and work at Spring Valley because of the preaching of the Gospel, and because of the desire to further Christ’s kingdom through this church.

Emily was raised in Bellwood (another Chicago suburb), and has been married to her husband, Ken, since 1981. They have three sons – Adam, Corey, and Colin – and two grandsons – Dylan and Hunter. Emily is privileged to be one of four generations of her family to worship at Spring Valley; her mother, her son, and his family all worship with us. Praise God!

When she’s not working, Emily enjoys organic gardening in her backyard (including eating the “fruits” of her labors!), knitting, and sewing. She has recently taken up snowshoeing in the winters, and enjoys traveling, especially when she gets to fly to get there. Her very favorite activity is playing with her grandsons – “they are so much fun!"

"My hope for Spring Valley is that it will continue to be a grace centered, gospel preaching church for centuries to come. To God Be the Glory!"

Rebekah Smith
Pianist

bekah1Rebekah has been attending Spring Valley since 2004 and has been a pianist for the church since 2009. She has always enjoyed music and is very involved in the music ministry by singing with praise team and choosing music for Sunday services as well as playing the piano. She loves being able to use her gifts for the glory of God, and to help fellow Christians worship our great God through music.

Rebekah is a wife and mother of two and has enjoyed staying home with her children since they were born, after being an elementary school teacher for 13 years. She also teaches a few piano lessons, as well as babysitting part time during the week. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being involved with Bible studies, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.

Beth Heiliger
Pianist

beth1Beth has been attending Spring Valley since 1997. She currently serves as the choir pianist and also has enjoyed sharing piano responsibilities for Sunday worship since 2002. She graduated from Wheaton College in 1995 with a degree in Music and Christian Education. Beth was originally drawn to Spring Valley by it's commitment to Scripture and warm welcome across age groups. She was looking for a church home where she could become involved and found it in Spring Valley. She embraces the blending hymns and contemporary worship in a variety of styles.

Beth is a native of the Chicago Suburbs and currently resides in Saint Charles with her 3 children. She enjoys worshiping the Lord and through music and her desire is to enable others to focus on Christ and draw them in to a deeper place in worship as well.