Pastor Chris Repp
My focus the pastor of Grace is keeping the main thing the main thing. The main thing, of course, is the life-giving good news of God’s love and forgiveness for us and for the whole world by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All that we do as a Christian community of faith ought to proceed from and reinforce this central affirmation, beginning with our weekly gathering for worship, extending to our various ministries, and reaching the daily lives of our members and all whom we encounter.
I was called to Grace in 2015 after serving for 12 years as the pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale, Illinois. Before that I served for four years as an ELCA missionary in St. Petersburg, Russia, where I taught theology and church history at a Russian Lutheran seminary. That was not my first time in Russia. As an undergraduate Russian major, I studied for a semester in Moscow, and it was there that I met my wife, Helen, a Russian major from the UK. We were married 2 years later and now have three grown children: Andrew, James, and Marian.
Caitlyn Reinders, Director of Youth and Congregational Life
Caitlyn came to Grace in 2017 after serving at Windsor Heights Lutheran Church in Des Moines, IA as their Youth Ministry Coordinator. Caitlyn is originally from Des Moines, IA, and graduated from Wartburg College in 2013 with a B.A. in Religion.
As part of her job here at Grace, she is involved in all aspects of youth ministry but also works with other ministries, such as Pub Theology and Hops and Hymns. She also edits the monthly newsletter, The Good News, coordinates Grace’s social media, and edits the website.
In her free time, you will find her crafting, baking, or cheering on her favorite teams, the Iowa State Cyclones and New England Patriots.
Lyla Vipinraj, Office Assistant
Lyla was born in Kerala, India. She moved to Champaign with her husband, Vipinraj Samraj in 2005 after he found a job here. Grace was the first church they visited in Champaign. She loved the friendly, welcoming community and became a member in 2006.
In her free time, Lyla loves cooking and gardening. Together, Lyla and Vipin have two children, Ruben and Ivanna. As a family, they love watching movies.
Andy Bruhn, Director of Music
Andrew Bruhn is a versatile musician, who has worked as a professional choral conductor, educator, composer, and trumpeter. Andrew is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has taught at the middle school and high school level, and worked as a church musician for several years. His school choirs regularly received superior ratings in organizational contests, and have been a featured performer at the Illinois Music Education Conference. Mr. Bruhn spent two years as the director of the Luther Seminary Choir and Luther Brass in St. Paul, MN. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree in choral conducting from Luther Seminary and St. Olaf College, and a BM in Trumpet Performance from Wheaton College. He has studied composition with David Cherwien and Alice Parker and his music is published by many major publishers. Andrew won the 2017 Illinois American Choral Directors Association Composition Contest, and was a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Choral Composition in 2019, a finalist in 2020, and a 2020 finalist for the Philip Stopford Composition Contest. Mr. Bruhn loves spending time with his musical wife, Lydia, their two daughters, and golden retriever.
Dana Robinson, Organist
Dana Robinson has been Grace’s organist for many years. He is associate professor of organ in the University of Illinois School of Music. A native of Boston, he has performed on some of the most significant modern and historic organs in the United States, and has presented recitals, master classes, and lectures throughout the country. He maintains an active schedule of teaching and performing, and he and his students can often be heard practicing or engaged in lessons throughout the week at Grace