The Rev. June Wilkins
I was born in Queens, NY. I have lived in New York, Houston, San Francisco, New York (again), Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Austin, and now Columbus, Ohio. I graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in creative writing.
I was born Roman Catholic but fell away from the church in my high school and college years. In my 20’s, I felt drawn return to church and the first one I attended was Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan which was near my apartment. I quickly fell in love with this church, and its people, and with Lutheranism.
In New York I was active in an improvisational acting troupe, working as a party clown (!) and a receptionist for an entertainment agency. I was considering going to graduate school to become a High School English teacher when I decided to take a class on the History of American Lutheranism offered by the Episcopal Seminary in New York. Although a lot of the theological and Lutheran terms and names were foreign to me, I took to the content well. So well, that my professor encouraged me to continue with seminary, and I was also encouraged by friends and mentors in my congregation. I started at the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia in 1999.
In 2002, I married my husband, Bob Abdou, who is a professional ventriloquist and puppeteer from Atlanta. I graduated from the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia in 2003 with honors and a focus on Urban Ministry. On the day of my graduation, I was called as Associate Pastor to St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Austin, TX. I served there for eight years where I focused on Social Ministry and service to our community. While I was there, I involved our congregation in several new ministries that they are still deeply involved in today.
In 2011, I was called as the pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio. I have worked to help them heal them from a previous conflict and to help them focus their ministries on their strengths of welcome and service. I have intentionally worked to share leadership with the younger and newer members of the church. One of my main focuses has been to root the congregation’s ministries in the community they are located in and to be a welcoming and serving presence in their neighborhood. I worked with the congregation to open a food pantry which reaches over 40 families every week and provides food, school supplies, Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving turkeys, a meal (before COVID), and a sense of community.
I strongly believe as the Church of Christ, our mission is to embrace the people that surround us. Some may become members of our church and some may not, but everyone we meet should be touched by the love of Christ, feel God’s welcome, and be seen as a part of our community.
Silke Pyrlik, Director of Christian Life
Silke grew up and attended college in Germany where she was a member of the Lutheran Church all her life. In 2005 she moved to Hilton Head Island with her husband and two children, Ben and Dorena. Silke’s family joined Christ Lutheran in 2007. She served two terms as council president in 2008 and 2009. In the fall of 2009, she followed God’s calling and began a second career in church ministry as Director of Christian Life here at Christ Lutheran Church. Silke works with all members of the congregation, helping them to find ministries to be involved in as well as helping to plan fellowship events and our Faith Formation classes.
Nancy Conder, Preschool Director
Nancy is the Director of Christ Lutheran Preschool and has worked as both teacher and director for 29 years. She was graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA degree in Elementary Education and has extensive graduate study and training in Early Childhood Education and Administration. Nancy has two grown daughters and three granddaughters.
Linda Sheetz, Parish Administrator
Linda grew up in central Pennsylvania, but since has lived in numerous states. Next year (2021) she will be married to her husband, Bob, for 30 years. She just recently became a full time resident of HHI! So happy to become a Staff member of Christ Lutheran.
Mike Conklin, Sexton
Mike currently serves as the Sexton of Christ Lutheran Church where he oversees the maintenance and operation of our church’s facilities. He also oversees all the necessary logistics for events on the church calendar. Mike and his wife Patti are dedicated members of Christ Lutheran.