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|Rich Criss was called to be the Ministry Coordinator of Emmanuel Reformed in February of 2007. Growing up in
the little town of Fulton, Illinois, Rich began singing solos in area churches when he was just three years old. He
began being coached vocally by his mother who would work with him on the solos he would sing for area
churches, nursing homes and wherever invitations to sing would present themselves. He then began taking piano
lessons when he was in 2nd grade and continued for the next 10 years, also studying organ during that time. He
became one of the organists at First Reformed Church, Fulton, in 1985, at the age of 15. He attended college at
Northern Illinois University in DeKalb as a vocal music education major. Beginning in 1994, Criss spent the next 13
years as Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in DeKalb, Illinois where he had the privilege of
founding the Celebration Chorale, an ecumenical choir based at First UMC that presented Christmas, Easter and
Patriotic productions each year. In his nearly 12 years of ministry at Emmanuel, Rich has been blessed to direct the
85-voice “Voices of Praise” which present Christmas and Spring cantatas each year.
Rich teaches piano and voice lessons each week and also volunteers his time serving on the foundation board of
Morrison Community Hospital. Rich has been married to the former Lynelle Bland for 27 years. They are the
proud parents of two daughters. Brittany, 24, is married to Matt VanDrew and they are the parents of Rich’s
pride and joy, two grandsons, Waylon, 3 and Jacob, 2. They are expecting their third child in March, 2019. Allysa,
20, is a junior at Central College in Pella, IA majoring in Athletic Training with a minor in pre-physical therapy.
Rich and Lynelle reside in Morrison, Illinois.