An Illinois megachurch is responding with shock and sadness after the loss of one of its pastors in Tuesday's terrorist attack on New York City.

Jeffrey Mladenik, pastor of workplace ministry at the 5,000-member Christ Church of Oak Brook , was one of 92 people on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles, which slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Mladenik was 43.

Mladenik worked part time at the church, coordinating employment assistance and teaching people to serve God in their workplaces. He was employed full time as a vice president of market development with Cahners, a business media company and interim CEO of eLogic, the company's Web site development firm. Mladenik and an associate were traveling to Los Angeles on business. The company is creating a fund for the family.

Dae Markus, assistant to the church's senior pastor, says members were stunned to learn of Mladenik's death. Mladenik and others were remembered at prayer services on Tuesday evening and at noon on Wednesday.

"The mood is still one of disbelief that a tragedy of this proportion could hit so close," Markus says.

Joseph Beczak, director of operations for the church, believes Mladenik's faith helped him to reach out to others even as he faced his last moments.

"Knowing Jeff, he was probably ministering to the passengers on the flight while it was in the air," Beczak says. "Jeff was a real dynamo for the Lord. It's a shame from our perspective that we had to lose him, but God knew that his time had come."

Mladenik, a native of the Chicago suburbs who had several business and biblical studies degrees from colleges in the area, had also served as a pastoral associate at the church for five years.

"My personal perspective is that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.