Meet Pastor Bill
The Reverend William H. Callister was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 24, 1963. Baptized at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Chicago on November 3, 1963. Bill grew up and was confirmed at Luther Memorial Church in Chicago.
Even though he has been a life-long Lutheran, Bill has had a variety of religious experiences and gained an ecumenical perspective while attending school. He attended Gordon Technical High School in Chicago, a high school run by the Roman Catholic Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the Resurrection, where he graduated in 1982. He attended North Park College, a college of the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, where he graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in History.
During his summers while in college Bill worked on the staff of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, Illinois. He attended the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where he served as a teaching parish student at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Chicago, and as a
seminary intern at Wiley Lutheran Church in Ellisville, Illinois and Trinity Lutheran Church in Canton, Illinois. He graduated from with a Masters of Divinity Degree from LSTC in 1990.
Bill was ordained to Word and Sacrament ministry on June 29, 1990 at the Church of the Little Flower in Springfield, Illinois as part of the Central Southern Illinois Synod Assembly that year. He was called to serve St. John's Lutheran Church in Toluca, Illinois where he served from 1990 to 1998. While serving St. John's he served as interim pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Lacon, Illinois from 1991 to 1992, and briefly at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Minonk and Bethany Lutheran Church in Wenona in 1995. Bill then went on to serve at Zion Lutheran Church in Clifton, Illinois from 1998 to 2015. While serving Zion he served as interim pastor twice at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kankakee from 2000 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2008. Pastor Bill came to St. Paul's in November, 2015.
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On May 28th 1882, the St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church was formed in Streator, IL. Inspiration for this project came from a group of believers who banded together three years earlier to form the Long Point Lutheran Church. Their minister, the Rev. J. Hossfeld, was instrumental in helping the Streator group accomplish their goal. Services were held in the old Park Presbyterian Church building, and Sunday School classes met in the old Armory building.
In 1883, the Streator congregation purchased for $900 the vacant Primitive Methodist Church building on East Bridge Street. Within four years, this building became inadequate due to a rapidly growing church body. A new and larger structure was erected on the site in 1888. The Pastor and his family lived in the church basement until late 1893, when a parsonage was purchased at 207 South Park Street.
In 1920, with an expanding church body and a desire for a more modern facility, the congregation voted to replace the wooden structure. At a cost of $25,000, a new brick building was erected on the site. Several years later, a brick home adjacent to the church was purchased for use as the new parsonage.
As the church body continued to expand, the church board approved the purchase of property at 509 East Broadway in July 1956. Within a year, a total of $110,831 had been pledged by congregation members, and it was voted to begin construction of the building that continues to serve today. Final services were held at the Bridge Street church on November 2, 1958. Aiding the contractor in the construction of the building was the Rev. Elmer Henrichs, and members, male and female, of the congregation who gave their talents, countless hours of their time, as well as donating most of the church furnishings.
The new church edifice did not include a pipe organ. However, as a result of an organ fund started in 1975, the dream to have a pipe organ installed by the 1982 centennial year was finally realized. The total cost for the organ, built by W. Zimmer & Sons from North Carolina was $130,000.
Time goes by so quickly, and on May 28th 2007, St. Paul’s congregation observed it’s 125th anniversary. Together, we bless our God who has sustained and brought us to this special celebration of Grace. With the example of our Savior ever before us, we will move into the future as He commanded, “making disciples of all nations”, and bring the message of salvation to Streator and beyond.