Welcome Debbie Kunakey!

Hello I’m excited to join the First Congregational Church of Christ as the Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. Previously, I worked as a full-time youth and family minister at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moline for a year and a half. I left my position in mid-February of 2023 and have been actively volunteering at Willard Elementary School and Bethel Wesley UMC. I enjoy working with children of all ages, from toddlers to young adults but have a heart for kids with special needs and English as second language learners.

I live with my husband and daughter in Moline, Illinois. I grew up in Silvis, and returned to the Quad Cities area six years ago to be closer to my parents, siblings, and their families. I spent twenty years teaching elementary special education in public schools in Illinois and Iowa but felt God calling me into ministry a few years ago. While working at TLC, I completed four online ELCA synod-authorized seminary courses through Select Learning and desire to complete my Master’s in Ministry and Social Work.

I graduated from Illinois State University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and completed twelve semester hours of graduate-level coursework. In addition to teaching, I’ve served as a library outreach worker for Davenport Libraries and a youth transition specialist and advocate for the IL/IA Center for Independent Living. I enjoy working with others and have built relationships with several schools and churches in the area. I love planning and hosting multi-generational events and taking youth into the community for social activities, retreats, and service projects. I desire to help children and youth connect to our living God and each other through community, home, and church wide activities.

My passion has always been to help people of all ages understand how much they are loved and valued by God and encourage them to develop their God-given talents and spiritual gifts. I strive to love others like Christ and hope to inspire people to extend that grace and compassion to others. I am thrilled to begin this journey at FCC.

Debbie Kunakey