About Zion's Pastor
For more about Pastor Tibbetts' life and interests,
see his personal home page, his Facebook page, or surf on over to Pastor Zip's Blog.

[Pastor Tibbetts reading the Passion according to St. John, Good Friday 2018]

The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS, has been the thirteenth Pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria since Autumn 1992. He is the second-longest serving pastor in Zion's nearly 124-year history.

Born St. Patrick's Day 1959 in Hollywood, California, Pastor Tibbetts was formed in the Christian Faith at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (now Faith Lutheran Church), Canoga Park, California, where he received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism as an infant, his First Communion in 6th Grade, and the Rite of Confirmation in 9th Grade.

Actively involved in service at Resurrection since joining the Cherub Choir (1st-3rd graders), his Pastor's wife talked him into joining a group of folks from the congregation for a tour of Israel in 1985. Upon his return from the Holy Land that autumn, a long-suppressed call to ordained ministry was re-awakened. He entered Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, in June 1988.

As part of his seminary education, he served two years as a field worker at Christ Lutheran Church, El Cerrito, California, and a summer as a Chaplain Resident for the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy at Kadlec Medical Center, Richland, Washington. During January 1990 he was at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in South-Central Los Angeles for his "cross-cultural experience." He served his pastoral internship during the 1990-1991 term at Saint John's Lutheran Church in Helena, Montana.

He received his Master of Divinity from PLTS in May 1992 and, having received the call from Zion, was ordained by the Rt. Rev. J. Roger Anderson, first Bishop of the Southern California (West) Synod (now called the Southwest California Synod), ELCA, on September 13 (St. John Chrysostom's Day), 1992, just a few feet from where he had been baptized one week shy of 33 years earlier. He began his ministry at Zion on September 28, 1992, celebrating the Eucharist for the first time on October 4. He was formally installed as Zion's Parish Pastor by the Rt. Rev. John P. Kaitschuk, first Bishop of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod, ELCA, on October 11, 1992.

A Lutheran Pastor:
[Pr. Tibbetts at the LWF Assembly bookstore.  Click here for a bigger copy.] As an ordained minister of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Pastor Tibbetts has served on several synodical committees and task forces. He served as Dean of the Synod's Northern Conference and a member of the Synod Council from 1999 to 2004. Beginning September 1999 he also served 17 months as Interim Pastor at Grace and Peace Lutheran Church in Peoria.

Pastor has attended five ELCA Churchwide Assemblies: as a volunteer at Indianapolis in 2001, Milwaukee in 2003, Orlando in 2005, and Chicago in 2007; and as Zion's Congregational Observer at the 2009 Assembly in Minneapolis. He was also a volunteer at the 10th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Winnipeg in 2003. (Here he is caught at the LWF Assembly bookstore in volunteer garb. You can also find him in other photos manning Microphone 2 on the LWF Assembly floor.)

[Seal of the Society of the Holy Trinity]On February 2, 1998 (the Festival of The Presentation of Our Lord or Candlemas), Pastor Tibbetts subscribed to the Rule of the Society of the Holy Trinity and served as Secretary of its Illinois Chapter until helping organize the Great Rivers Chapter in 2003. Involved in the ELCA's discussions on sexuality since entering seminary, he is a charter signatory of the 2002 Kansas City Pastoral Statement of Conviction and Concern and The Hickory Declaration of 2003. He has been part of Lutheran CORE since participating its conception after the 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Pastor Tibbetts helped establish the Peoria Area chapter of Lutherans for Life, for which he was Pastoral Advisor 1997-2008. He is also the liaison for the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau to the Central/Southern Illinois Synod.

An ecumenical minister:
Pastor Tibbetts' formal ecumenical participation began in 1980 as a young layman in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogues held at the parish level within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Pacific Southwest Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. They were fed while a seminarian by working at the Franciscan School of Theology and attending classes at 7 of the 9 schools then in the Graduate Theological Union. While on internship in Helena he participated in the weekly ecumenical text study, assisted at the joint Episcopal-ELCA Thanksgiving Day Mass, and appeared in a newspaper photograph carrying the cross on the annual Good Friday walk through part of the city.

['Father Steven' in an St. Birgitta procession with the SSB in Vadstena, July 2004.]

Upon coming to Peoria he joined the Peoria Clergy Fellowship, later becoming an officer and preaching for Peoria's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service in 1997. He has also participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities sponsored by the Peoria Christian Leadership Council and offered meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ for the ecumenical Good Friday services in 1995 and 1996 sponsored by a local conference of Baptist churches.

In 2004 Pastor Tibbetts presented a pious address at the Ecumenical Birgitta Celebration sponsored by the Society of St. Birgitta during its General Chapter in Vadstena, Sweden, and has since participated in SSB's 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2018 General Chapters. Also in 2004 he hosted the eighth Bishop of Quincy, the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, SSC, as Zion celebrated her 110th Anniversary by observing the ELCA's full communion relationship with the Episcopal Church. In 2008 and 2009 Pastor Tibbetts was among the host clergy for the ecumenical 40 Days of Prayer for Peoria instigated by the city's Mayor.

Pr. Steven P. Tibbetts's Facebook profileIn September 1994 members of Zion sponsored Pastor for a Cursillo weekend and, as part of his continued participation in the Diocese of Peoria Cursillo Fourth Day community, has served four times as a weekend Spiritual Advisor. He has served on over 30 teams of the Heart of Illinois Via de Cristo (a Lutheran expression of Cursillo), beginning with its first weekends in May 1998. He has also served as the movement's Co-Spiritual Director during 2004-2007 and again since 2014. Pastor Tibbetts was a founding director of the Greater Peoria Interfaith Hospitality Network, which provided shelter for homeless families from 1997-2001. He has also in the past served as Chaplain for the Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Pastor Tibbetts was with his text study group a co-writer for the Lent 1995 "Preaching Helps" section of Currents in Theology and Mission. He has written commentaries that appeared in the December 2000 and November 2007 issues of Forum Letter and contributed to reflections on Holy Week that appeared in the "Faith and Values" section of the Peoria Journal Star in 2001. His Pastor Zip's Christian Web Links first appeared on the World Wide Web in December 1996. Pastor Zip's Lutheran Web Links became a separate page in April 1998 and the site has since grown to be an extensive and unique resource for web links to sites related to Lutheran churches and theology. He was a regular participant on LutherLink (the ELCA's section of Ecunet) beginning in 1994, can be found on the ALPB Forum Online, and maintains Pastor Zip's Blog.

Zion's Home Page | Worship at Zion | Zion's Mission | Prayer & Devotions | About the Pastor | Study at Zion | Weddings

Map to Zion | Zion's Outreach Ministries | Prison Mission | Pastor Zip's Lutheran Links | Neighboring Congregations | Zion's History

Zion's Called Ministers
Wilhelm Schmitt † : 1894-1895
J. A. Grueber † : 1895-1896
Emil Rausch † : 1897-1900
C. August Decker † : 1900-1910
Sebastian J. Altpeter † : 1911-1942
Henry C. Hafermann † : 1943-1948
Harold J. Knappe † : 1948-1962
Hermann Schmitt † : 1962-1966
Henry A. Flessner † : 1966-1969
John M. Kordewich † : 1969-1983
Steven D. Berke : 1984-1989
Dennis R. Scoville : 1990-1992
Steven P. Tibbetts : 1992-present

Associate in Ministry
Karen Wong : 2008-2011
Missionary to Prisons

Zion's Home Page | Worship at Zion | Zion's Mission | Prayer & Devotions | About the Pastor | Study at Zion | Weddings

Map to Zion | Zion's Outreach Ministries | Prison Mission | Pastor Zip's Lutheran Links | Neighboring Congregations | Zion's History

The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150

Copyright © 2002-2018 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria. All rights reserved.
Created – 8 November 2002
Last Revised – 24 August 2018

URL: www.zionpeoria.org/pastorbio.html