Our two summer interns introduce themselves and share their experiences at First Church. 

Ivy Joe Kuruvila

I am from India and in my second year at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary pursuing a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree.

While a summer intern at First Church I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with many people in the congregation.  I participated in various community service projects, like Creation Camp (see photo below) which allowed me to give back and make a positive impact. Additionally, I helped with the morning services, assisting with preparations and ensuring everything ran smoothly. This experience has been rewarding and fulfilling, as I was able to contribute to the church and support the community.

I’ve gotten to know First Church through worship, my Inquirers class and the new member process, and, of course, this internship.  I’ve observed that this church is a warm and welcoming place where people genuinely care about each other. The members are dedicated to their faith and actively involved in the community. I’ve also seen a strong sense of togetherness and support among the congregation. Overall, my experience has been very positive, and I’ve enjoyed being part of such a loving and active community.

I look forward to serving as an intern again this fall and to learning more from First Church !

Sam Stanes

I am a pastor’s kid from Chennai, India, where my parents are doing ministry.  I moved to Evanston in the fall of 2024 and am a student in the Master of Divinity program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

My summer internship at First Church Evanston is incredibly fulfilling and enriching. I have the opportunity to work closely with the church community and engage in various aspects of ministry and outreach. I am grateful to assist in organizing events, supporting pastoral care efforts, and contributing to the church’s digital presence through social media and website management by helping Jerry in the IT department. It was a valuable experience where I learned a lot about the practical aspects of church administration and the importance of community engagement in a spiritual context.

As a new member of this congregation and intern at First Church Evanston, I’ve been struck by the genuine sense of community that permeates every aspect of church life. From my first Sunday service to engaging with members through Inquirers classes and various ministry activities, I’ve learned that First Church Evanston is more than just a place of worship—it’s a family united by faith and compassion.

Sam Stanes chats with a staff member at the Chili Cookoff.

One of the most inspiring things I’ve observed is the dedication of both the clergy and the congregation to serving others. Whether it’s through outreach programs that support the local community or pastoral care initiatives that offer comfort and guidance, there’s a palpable commitment to making a positive impact in people’s lives.

I’ve also come to appreciate the diversity within First Church. It’s a community where people from different backgrounds and walks of life come together in fellowship and mutual respect. This diversity not only enriches our worship experiences but also broadens our perspectives and deepens our understanding of faith.

Being part of First Church has been a transformative experience for me personally. It has reaffirmed my belief in the power of faith to inspire kindness, resilience, and hope. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to such a vibrant and welcoming community.

Sam and Ivy will both serve as field education interns here at First Church during the 2024-25 academic year.