Pastor Brian Coffey
Brian’s call to ordained ministry was awakened as a confirmation student at his home congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peoria, where his family has been members for over 100 years. The call was shaped by a variety of life experiences and formal education and has now resulted in his nomination to Epiphany Lutheran Church.
Brian comes to us following his culminating Internship at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Brian received his theological education through the Distributed Learning program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two-thirds of his classes were completed at home in Peoria while working full time for Caterpillar, Inc. and serving as an officer on the Church Council at his home congregation. The other third was completed on campus in Minnesota during Intensive Sessions, typically held in January and June. He also had the unique opportunity to complete a course in the Holy Land led by his New Testament professor and two Jewish rabbis. Brian completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) chaplaincy training at UnityPoint Trinity hospital in Rock Island, Illinois. For contextual education he served at the newly formed Three Saints Parish in Chillicothe, Wyoming, and Lacon, Illinois.
Brian was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in 1968 while his father served in the United States Navy. He was baptized at St. John Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Virginia where he had the opportunity to preach while on Internship! In 1971, he moved to his parents’ hometown of Peoria, Illinois, and he has lived in several communities in the Peoria area since then. He is a 1986 graduate of Pekin Community High School and was on the 1986 state champion Group Interpretation team for Forensics.
Brian attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for two years and holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois in Russian and East European Studies. He was enlisted in the United States Army Reserve and was later commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (Infantry), in the Illinois Army National Guard through Army ROTC. He drilled for five years with units in Urbana and Bloomington. Following college, Brian worked for nearly five years as Coordinator of Youth, Education and Lay Ministry at his home congregation and became one of the first people in the Central/Southern Illinois Synod to be Commissioned as an ELCA Associate in Ministry (AIM). He received his AIM education remotely through the SELECT Program at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and in a hybrid format at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Iowa. Brian also completed a year of part-time foundational business courses in the MBA program at Illinois State University.
Between serving at St. Paul and going on Internship at St. Michael, Brian worked 25 years at Caterpillar Inc. in the Peoria area. He performed a variety of job functions primarily in the area of Supply Chain Management. However, he also worked in Information Technology as a COBOL programmer and in Marketing Communications as an e-learning course developer.
Brian has raised three children into early adulthood - Sarah (age 26), Emily (age 22) and Matthew (age 20). Uniquely, all three of his children live with Type 1 (juvenile) Diabetes having been diagnosed at the ages of 2, 5 and 11. One of Brian’s passions is raising funds to keep scientists working for a cure. To date he and his family have raised over $320,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). They were instrumental in establishing the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Peoria. Brian is a Benedictine Oblate with the ecumenical St. Benedict’s Abbey in Bartonville, Illinois and has the unique hobby of visiting monasteries for retreats, including the only Lutheran monastery in North America, which is St. Augustine House in Oxford, Michigan.
A Bible passage that Brian finds inspiring is: Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” [NRSV] He looks forward to being able to pronounce these words found in our baptism liturgy into the lives of others as an ordained pastor in the ELCA.