"As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people. And immediately they left their nets and followed him."
~Mark 1: 17-18

Pastoral Staff

The Rev. Dr. Don Dempsey,
Pastor for the Transition
847-256-3010 ext. 12

We welcome the Rev. Dr. Don Dempsey as our Pastor for the Transition here at First
Presbyterian Church of Wilmette.

Don grew up in Glen Ellyn where his father, Richard Dempsey, was the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church for ten years (1949-1959)

He graduated from McCormick Seminary in 1969 and was a Presbyterian minister for ten years serving churches in Indiana. In 1979 he changed careers and worked at Continental Illinois National Bank in downtown Chicago. Soon after being appointed a Banking Officer, he lost his job in 1984 when the bank almost failed. During the next 18 years Don served for 13 years as an Outplacement Career Counselor; 3 years at McCormick Seminary and then 2 years at Coe College (his alma mater) as the Director of Foundation Giving.

In 2002, Rev. Dr. Dempsey returned to the ordained ministry as an Interim Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, IL (5 years) the final two years, Don served as the Interim Executive Associate Pastor. Since that time Don has served as interim pastor at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (6 months); First Presbyterian Church in Michigan City, IN (28 months); Palatine Presbyterian Church (17 months); Kenilworth Union Church (13 months); and most recently Park Ridge Presbyterian Church (7 months).

Don and his wife Meg live in a condo in the Tower West Barracks at Ft. Sheridan. They have two adult children, Brian, who is married to Jenn and Becky, who is single; both Brian and Becky live in Aurora and work in downtown Chicago. As Don recovers from knee surgery he looks forward to returning to playing golf and riding his bike on the nearby north shore bike paths.


The Rev. Erin Raska,
Sr. Associate Pastor, Staff Lead
847-256-3010 ext. 17

Erin Raska grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Whitworth University where she studied Kinesiology and Biology. After graduation, Erin spent five years working in youth ministry in the Seattle area as well as in Spokane, WA. Erin met her husband, Brent, while in Spokane. Brent was the Director of Youth Ministries at Erin’s home church in Lewiston, ID and Erin was the Director of Youth Ministries at Brent’s home church in Spokane, WA; they switched places! Brent and Erin attended Princeton Theological Seminary together. After graduation they served in their first ordained call together as the Global Ministry Fellows at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. As fellows, Brent and Erin spent nine months on the pastoral staff at Madison Avenue, one year working in Zambia, Africa, and two and half months traveling throughout the Global South. This fellowship allowed Brent and Erin to encounter how God is at work throughout the world, to engage the rapidly growing church in the Global South and to continue to explore how God is calling them to serve Christ’s church. Upon completion of this fellowship, Erin sought a place that would encourage and nourish her call to ministry, passions, gifts and life experience. She was called to fpcw in July of 2011. At fpcw, Erin leads Christian Formation for children, youth and adult alike, mission and congregational care. Erin loves to travel, to be in the outdoors, to engage is good conversation, and to visit her family in the Pacific Northwest.