The door to Strauss-Betker Hall is handicap accessible. All bathrooms are not only handicap accessible but large enough to turn a wheelchair around within. There is a wheelchair lift to the sanctuary that contains handicap accessible seating in the center with chairs, spaces for wheelchairs and a moveable baptismal font if needed to provide full access. if you have any questions about handicap accessibility, please feel free to contact Amanda Vandervort.


1095 East Thacker Street

Des Plaines, IL 60016


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Our Vestry

According to dictionary.com a Vestry in the Episcopal Church is "a committee elected by members of a congregation to serve with the church wardens in managing the temporal affairs of the church." At St. Martin's the Vestry is a group of individuals who are truly committed to helping our church run smoothly, bring great events and ministries to the congregation, and looking ahead to see what we may need to do in order to not only keep St. Martin's current but also best serve the ever changing needs of our parishioners.

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Brian has been a member of St Martin's for "too long to remember exactly when"...but about 25 years.  He has layministered at 8:00 since the Father Bob era, taught Sunday School, and is in his third year on the Vestry, now serving as Junior Warden.  Although not technically a cradle Episcopalian, he has been one since about age five, and should make the "to grave" portion.  While not a choir member ("I can only sing one note"), it was the organ itself that attracted Brian to St Martin's, as his mother had been a church organist.


Brian's son Alec, now in college, grew up in St Martin's, being baptized and taking first communion there.  Although Brian's wife Loretta pursues alternative religious endeavors, she can still be found occasionally helping out at church activities.


While appreciating the closeness that a small congregation provides, Brian would like to see new members.


Brian grew up in Birmingham, MI but moved to the Chicago area after college and has been a career railroader.  He works for the company whose track is one block east of the church. 

Senior Warden

Brian Buchanan

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Chris Ladner has been a parishioner of St. Martin's for over 20 years.  Originally planning to go church shopping, he never looked at another place after attending once.  


His son, Zack, made his First Communion here and was confirmed, and Chris met Judy here, and it was here that they were married.  Adrianna was baptized, made her First Communion, and was confirmed here.


During his time at St. Martin's he has been a Sunday School Superintendent, Adult Education Director, Junior Warden, and Senior Warden.


Chris looks forward to again serving on the Vestry in whatever position he is asked to be in.

Vestry Member

Chris Ladner

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Libby Smolik began her love of St. Martin's over 45 years ago when she came for her Girl Scout meetings. Although born a Congregationalist and with a strong desire to be Catholic at a young age - she discovered in her early 20's that St. Martins was a great combination of both and has stayed ever since. This includes getting married here, having her children baptized and raised here, etc. "It's still the same family feeling and closeness to God I felt several years ago, but even more so - I'm so blessed to know so many people supporting my family and me. Through the best of circumstances and the worst of times it never changes and always feels like home or a warm hug whenever I think of St. Martins." In her spare time she enjoys playing interior design games on her phone, traveling, creative writing, playing board games, and more than anything else, being with Bob, Rob, and Chris - wherever they are as long as they're all together.

Vestry Member

Elizabeth "Libby" Smolik

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“I am blessed to have a big noisy family, best dog in the world and  the love of my life with me.  
I have walked many paths, no misspent youth here, I used it up with passion for life and love and seeking the right path for me.  What a surprise that all those explored paths brought me home to St. Martins.”

Vestry Member

Novalla Suter

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Timothy has been an active member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Barrington, Illinois, since 1995, soon after moving from Skokie to Barrington in connection with the birth of children.  In September 2017, Bishop Lee approved Tim as a postulant for potential ordination as a vocational deacon in the Episcopal Church.  Since around that time, Tim has volunteered as Diocesan Coordinator for Episcopal Relief & Development.  Episcopal Relief & Development serves to bring together the generosity of Episcopalians and others with the needs of the world.  (www.episcopalrelief.org)

            Timothy is father of four adult children, Hilary, Leslie, Caroline, and Connor.  He serves the community professionally as an attorney with Tinkoff Law Group, LLC, a general practice law firm in Barrington, Illinois, where Tim focuses significantly in probate estate and trust administration matters.

Deacon-in-Training Intern

Tim Murray

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Sue Krauser is Mom of 28 year old son, Eric. God blessed her with a positive attitude, resilience, a strong work ethic, and a friendly fun personality. Sue loves to travel, enjoy a glass of wine and good food with friends, and live entertainment.  She is Account Manager at the College of American Pathologists.  Sue is best known for relationship building, the ability to "get the job done" and being a team player.   


She has been a member of St. Martin's since 1988. She fell in love with the place and people on her first visit, and has served on the worship commission and was bookkeeper/treasurer for 8+years.

Junior Warden

Sue Krauser

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Maria's connection with Saint Martin's started in June of 2017, when she and her husband were searching for a local church, a safe and accepting environment to help teach their young son about Christian values.  The slogan "All Are Welcome" and the inclusion of pets were intriguing, of course, but it was the friendly and open people who made her feel right at home.  Having only experienced the anonymity of large Catholic congregations, it has been a pleasant experience to belong to a smaller parish where everyone knows  you. 


In addition to her role of being a Vestry member, Maria enjoys being useful at St. Martin's as a lay reader, counter and occasional coffee maker.  

She also volunteers for Adopt-a-Pet, the school's PTC and the local Cub Scout Pack.

Vestry Member

Maria Rasmussen

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Nancy Schaper has been a member of St. Martin’s since 1989 and agreed to serve on Vestry – for a third time!  She’s served on Altar Guild since 1992 and considers the members of St. Martins as her family, since her biological family resides in Michigan.  Though we don’t get to see him at Paws-in-the-Pews, Oscar the cat is a faithful pain in her behind and is loved dearly!!!

Vestry Member

Nancy Schaper

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I started attending St Martin's with my dad when I was a young child. I remember we rented space at the old Rand Park Fieldhouse and the old Masonic Temple. It was here that I was confirmed. I was 10 years old and Bishop Burrell officiated. This milestone was very important to me. I still remember every person’s name in my class. My teacher, Mr. MacHattie had me write "His Messenger" in the front of my prayer book, which I had gotten as a present.


When we built our church, I remember, my father and the other men doing all the staining, inside and out. That was a huge job and that is when I first realized how members of St Martin's always work together to get the job done. Women worked on sewing Father Chaffee's vestments and altar linens. It felt to me like the members cared about their church and they cared about each other.


Father McKay insisted on marrying my husband and me at St John's. It was the end of April, 1961 and our present day sanctuary was finished, but outside was muddy as the parking lot was not completed. My husband and I left the area but returned to have our children Baptized at St. Martin's.


After my father died in 1993, my mother asked me to bring her to church every Sunday. My parents were “8 o'clockers”. Five years later, after my mother died I was still attending early mass. I love that mass, but I really only saw Father Bob and a small number of people. I began coming to 10 o'clock and because I was always involved as a young person, I decided to get involved. What I found out was, the people are different, yet still the same, in that people are working together to accomplish a goal plus they care about one another. It's not only one another, but others in our community and the world.

Vestry Member

Deanna "Dee" Vihnanek


Jack Short came to St Martin’s July 4th weekend 2017, after shopping around for a church for several months.  A big fan of strong personal faith, good (plentiful) food and love for animals, St. Martins is a perfect fit! 

By day Jack is the Managing Director of Stage 773, a nonprofit theatre in Lakeview, and has served on the board of directors for other nonprofit organizations including Normal Moments. As a musician Jack plays keyboards for the band “The Tattoo Floozies,” and occasionally musical theatre/cabarets.

Originally from Ohio (via Michigan), Jack comes from a long line of Episcopal Church family members.  Jack has one fur-baby Janet Vivian, who will never be seen at Paws in the Pews – by her choice.


Jack Short