Forever a part of Grace. Pastor Thomas B. Christell Jr.
Updated: May 19
Pastor Tom Christell served Grace Lutheran Church of Springfield, Illinois, from 1990 to 2019. He loved his church and family and loved leading the youth and helping Grace's Food Pantry.
Pastor Christell had a major impact on many lives during his time at Grace and beyond. During his time at Grace, Grace Food Pantry expanded from serving a few people to over 15,000 during his time there. He took great pride in that the food pantry was self-efficient using nothing but donations and volunteers. Today the food pantry continues to expand and help all those in need thanks to his and others' efforts.
He considered youth ministry to be the biggest highlight of his ministry serving youth confirmation camps for over 36 years as well as gatherings and conferences. One of these gatherings was the now famous origin of using Pepsi and Cheetohs for communion when bread and grape juice weren't available at the time. This is referenced quite often now during youth gatherings as a legend.
After 29 years Pastor Christell retired from Grace Lutheran Church. He had also served 7 years at St. Peter’s Church in Arenzville, Illinois.
Pastor Christell sadly passed away on April 14, 2023. His time on Earth may be done but he will forever be a part of Grace with all the lasting impacts he had.
Below is a video of Pastor Christell's funeral service at Grace Lutheran Church on April 19, 2023.
You can learn more about the life and impact Pastor Christell had on the church and community through the links shared below.
Abraham Lincoln Library Oral History: Grace Food Pantry, Thomas Christell Interview.
State Journal-Register: Grace-ful exit: Christell Retires after 29 years at downtown church.
Obituary: Pastor Thomas B. Christell Jr. May 16, 1951 - April 14, 2023