Elgin's First Presbyterian Church calls new pastor

  • The Rev. Thea Kornelius

    The Rev. Thea Kornelius

Updated 11/9/2021 7:02 PM

On Sept. 12, First Presbyterian Church of Elgin voted to welcome the Rev. Rothea (Thea) Kornelius as their new pastor. Rev. Kornelius begins her call at First Presbyterian Church of Elgin on Sunday, Nov. 21, leading the 10:30 a.m. service.

Rev. Kornelius was born and grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. She graduated from the University of Pretoria with a degree in Physiotherapy and later obtained her doctoral degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University. She has worked both in South Africa and the United States for over 20 years. Rev. Kornelius received her Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminar. She is married to Dawn La Duke, and they have five fur babies: three dogs and two cats. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, knitting, making music, and anything that has to do with the great outdoors.


With a passion for issues of social justice, human dignity, and equality for all, Kornelius sought out a church that understands God's call to its mission in the world. She believes that Jesus came to show us love as service and a life that is full of compassion, forgiveness, and healing for the least of these. To be a disciple of Jesus, Kornelius believes we must follow these examples.

"Her engaging sermons, energy, wit, and compassion all struck a chord within the hearts and minds of the PNC members," says Jacque Eads, chair of the Pastor Nominating Committee at First Presbyterian Church of Elgin. "Her background includes youth activity leadership, leading two small congregations as pastor, as well as being executive director for a mission focused nonprofit organization. She is very organized, mature, thinks outside-of-the-box, and was pro-active in reaching out to our church community. We all felt she will challenge and support us as we strive to live our lives in discipleship to Christ."

Join First Presbyterian Church of Elgin for their 10:30 a.m. service led by Rev. Kornelius, on Sunday, Nov. 21. There will be a reception following the service to give the church family an opportunity to welcome her. They will be following COVID-19 protocols as needed.

For more information about First Presbyterian Church of Elgin, visit www.fpce.org.

The mission of the members of First Presbyterian Church (USA) of Elgin is to invite, form, nurture, shape and sustain disciples of Jesus Christ. It is a faith community of justice-seeking Presbyterians, responding to the God who calls us through the power of the Holy Spirit into wholeness, as a community that lives out the vision of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ in the world. The church has a diverse history here in Elgin, with a bold, dynamic and ever-changing path toward the future. First Presbyterian Church of Elgin is a part of the Blackhawk Presbytery within the Synod of Lincoln Trails. To learn more about First Presbyterian Church of Elgin, visit www.fpce.org.


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