WAYNE BEASON: Director
In 2021, Wayne Beason became the newest member of JUSTembrace’s Board. Wayne first partnered with JUSTembrace in 2012 while he was leading a nearby college ministry at DePaul University. He was immediately moved by the community God was creating at JUSTembrace and by its emphasis on embodied hospitality. Although Wayne’s time in Chicago was short, his memories of joining students at holiday meals, foot clinics, and other activities kept JUSTembrace close to his heart ever since. He is thrilled to share in this unique expression of God’s inclusive imagination!
Wayne and his wife Stephanie now live in Dearborn, MI, where Wayne has been pastoring a church since 2013. Wayne is also an adjunct instructor at Rochester University, and is working toward a doctorate of ministry at Lipscomb University.
GAIL PADMANABHAN: Director
Gail Padmanabhan has been a JUSTembrace Board Member since 2018. Gail has been involved with JUSTembrace since 2015, when she attended an Urban Plunge at the house in Uptown. Gail’s home church in Gurnee, IL (Joy! Lutheran Church) partnered with JUSTembrace and JE hosted many Urban Plunges for Joy! people during 2014-15.
Gail felt a strong and immediate connection to JUSTembrace that Urban Plunge weekend. With a nod to her father’s ministry to homeless people in Uptown in the 1980s, helping at the monthly foot clinics soon became a regular part of Gail’s schedule. Gail loves to cook for and attend parties and events at the house and was a strong advocate for Sher to adopt Scout.
After a career in Human Resources, Gail retired from Abbott in 2020. Through her catering business, she’s been preparing mid-week meals for busy families during the pandemic. She looks forward to catering post-pandemic where she can once again feed people at events and in community with one other.
Gail and her husband Sai are parents of 3 children, now adults. They reside in Wildwood, IL.
LORI RADDER SPICER: Vice-President
Lori’s first encounter with JUSTembrace was in April of 2014, when she volunteered to serve at the monthly Foot Clinic on Easter Weekend. Fairly new to Chicago and hungry for authentic community in the city, Lori quickly became a regular attendee of JUSTembrace events and Sunday night small group. Since then, she has come to experience the JUSTembrace community as her core family in Chicago and a consistent embodiment of the Kingdom of God among us.
Lori recently completed programs with the New School for Massage to become a listened massage therapist, as well as The Living School, a program in contemplative spirituality run by Father Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation. Her working hours are dedicated to the Near West Little League, a non-profit serving youth on the Near West Side of Chicago. She is passionate about racial justice, contemplative activism, biking, surfing the Great Lakes, and spending time with all her favorite humans and furry creatures. She has been honored to serve on the Board since January of 2019. In 2020, she married a fellow JUSTembrace community member, Kevin!
CHRISTINA SHIN: Secretary
Christina had just moved back to Chicago after running a free health clinic in Central Illinois when she first learned about JUSTembrace in 2010. She started volunteering at monthly Foot Clinics and quickly realized how unique and radical the vision of JUSTembrace was. Since then, she and her husband, Suggey, have remained partners to the organization as well as participants of community events while relocating six more times within the Chicagoland area.
Christina currently works as a physician assistant at Rush University Medical Center in neurocritical care. She resides in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood and can otherwise be found searching for delicious food in the city, attempting to be active, reading (but not always finishing) books, working through aspects of systemic injustice, and self-debating whether or not to get a dog. She has been a part of the Board since May 2020.
SHERILYN SHEETS: Founder/President/CEO
For our founder, JUSTembrace has become a megaphone for a life passionately pursuing the other. Often feeling like an outsider throughout her life, Sher was sustained by frequent experiences of God’s unrelenting welcome. Today she is convinced that there is not much else worth doing than participating in that welcome – simultaneously giving and receiving hospitality among her neighbors.
Sher Sheets holds a BA in English from Southern Wesleyan University, an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and an MRE from Rochester University. With the support and active participation of the JUSTembrace community, Sher is currently working towards a doctorate at Lipscomb University. Prior to Covid-19, Sher celebrated six years as a barista at the local Starbucks where she loved the opening shift at 4:30am, and delighted in knowing her customers by name and customized order. She still calls to people on the street by their order to this day: “Good Morning Tall Blonde in a Grande Cup!” In their free time, Sher and Scout (JUSTembrace’s beloved golden retriever) love to go on adventures – preferably in the woods!
RYAN CRISS: Treasurer (ex officio)
Bio coming SOON!