Dr. John Judson, DMin. Senior Pastor, has served First Presbyterian since June of 2009. He holds a B.A. in Business and Economics from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Following college John served in the Peace Corps and worked in the petrochemical industry in Houston. His ministry career includes serving the First Presbyterian Church of Pampa, Tx (1988-92) and Covenant Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas (1985-87, 1992-2009). He is married to Dr. Cindy who is an adjunct Professor of Education at Oakland University, working with student teachers. They have two grown children. John currently serves on the board of the South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless and is a trustee at Alma College, in Alma, MI. He believes that God is doing great things in and through this congregation for the community, the national church and the world.
Rev. Joanne Blair, MDiv., Associate Pastor for Inclusion and Pastoral Care, has her M.Div. from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. We are thankful for the ways in which her expertise and her commitment to the inclusion of all people in our community enrich our ministries here at First Presbyterian Church. She was a volunteer with our Celebration Station program for five years and joined the inclusion team in 2011.
Andrew Herbruck, MA, Director of Music Ministries, comes to us at Everybody’s Church after having served eight years as director of music at Grosse Pointe Woods Presbyterian Church. He received his under-graduate and Graduate degrees from the University of Michigan’s School of Music in organ and church music. Andrew’s background includes being a primary service organist, directing chancel and handbell choirs, managing a departmental program budget and building an innovative program for middle and high school students. Andrew is committed to FPC’s vision of inclusivity and to its outreach in metropolitan Detroit where he has consciously decided to live, owns a home, and is a part of that community. Andrew enjoys running and rowing and been actively involved in communications and concert planning.
Jan Peters, Office Administrator, has been a member of First Presbyterian Church since 1972 and a member of the staff since 1984.
Her mission statement reads: “I try to serve and welcome all people who enter the church, be a listener to those in need, and provide assistance wherever and whenever possible to visitors, members of the congregation and staff.” Her duties are varied; coordinating the day-to-day operation of the church, supervising support staff and volunteers, scheduling inside and outside events, and providing assistance to Session, Deacons, and the Head of Staff. Jan and Jim Peters have two grown children, Libby and Jim, who along with their spouses, teach school. They also have two wonderful grandsons living in Ohio.
Heidi Wilkinson, Director, Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center, has been employed with the First Presbyterian Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center since 2001. Heidi is a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a degree in Early Childhood. She is married with two children.
She attributes the success of Hand-in-Hand to the qualified teachers, the learning-through-play curriculum and the wonderful families who attend. She is passionate about the development of the whole child and the hope that each child will develop a love of learning taught within the framework of a nurturing Christian environment.
Nancy Quigley, Educational Ministries Assistant, joined First Presbyterian Church in 2004 after moving to Birmingham from New Jersey. She has been our Educational Ministries Assistant since 2005. In this role, Nancy supports our children’s and youth ministries both administratively and during worship/special activities. She also assists with the All Abilities Inclusion Ministry (AAIM) and Alcott Elementary School Ministry programs. Prior to the move to Michigan, Nancy was an employee benefits consultant in Washington, D.C., New York and New Jersey. Nancy and her husband, Peter, enjoy spending as much time as possible with their four children. Their oldest recently graduated from Northwestern University (Nancy’s alma mater), two are attending the University of Michigan, and their youngest is at Michigan State University.
Sue Kohns, Music Director for Youth and Children, comes to us with an extensive background in education and music. She and her husband Ben (who leads our brass group) have two children, Emily and Ben.
Larry Malover, Building Supervisor, is in charge of the day to day physical plant operations. This includes everything from cleaning, set-up, take down, to working with outside contractors. "I am your typical hands-on kind of guy. I like to build things, repair things, restore things and make them like new. I love to renovate houses and buildings, then rent them out. I’ve worked in printing and graphic arts, landscaping, home and commercial rentals and most recently the steel industry. Some years ago I was a Cub Scout den leader and also spent a number of years coaching youth soccer with the ROYSA league in Royal Oak. Lots of fun with both! Currently I am restoring an ‘97 GMC Suburban and rebuilding an old outboard motor. Some day it might even work! My wife’s name is Barb. We live close by in Royal Oak on 13 Mile near Rochester. We have lived in a home we love for 36 years. Built in 1929. Keeping it up is a labor of love! Barb earned her Master Gardener certification and runs her small gardening business for clients during the days. Evenings she works at the UPS terminal in Madison Heights. She has been there fourteen years now. We have three children, Mike (custom car designer, married to Jamie with granddaughter Mia), Tom (has his own business selling hops to micro-breweries) and Ally (sous chef at “The Union” in Clarkston). Working here at FPC is a whole new environment for me. Nothing like the other places I have worked at. I welcome the new challenges and appreciate working with such a friendly and enthusiastic crew!"
Martha Smith, Financial Administrator, has been a member of FPC Birmingham since she and her husband, Wendell, moved to the area in 1995. She has a BA and MAcc from DePaul University, where she was also on the Part-Time Accounting Faculty. She worked as an auditor for Deloitte and as a commercial credit officer for legacy JPM banks in Chicago, Houston and Detroit for 18 years. After taking some time away from her career to raise her two children, she joined the FPC staff in 2015. She has been active in the church, serving on Session, as a teacher in Crosswalks and Vacation Bible School and playing in the Bell Choir.
Rev. Amy Morgan, MDiv., Associate Pastor for Missions and Community has served at FPC since 2007, working with youth and young adults, leading mission trips, preaching and teaching. Amy is a graduate of Princeton Seminary, and also holds a bachelor's degree of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University. She co-authored a book, "The Girlfriends' Clergy Companion," published by Alban in 2011. She currently serves on the board of WISDOM (Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit) and on the Planning and Visioning Team of the Presbytery of Detroit. Amy and her husband, Jason, have a son, Dean. Dean loves science, reading, and golf. The Morgan family lives in Birmingham and can often be spotted riding bikes around town.
Cindy Merten, MA, Director of Christian Education and All Abilities Inclusion Ministry, came to First Presbyterian Church Birmingham in 1999 after serving in a similar capacity at another congregation for 11 years. Rooted in her conviction that we are better together and that faith formation must address the learning styles and needs of all people, she brought the Workshop Rotation Model of Sunday school to us in the form of CrossWalks. She is an Associate Certified Christian Educator and leads workshops, organizes conferences, teaches others about the “rotation” model and inclusion. Cindy is committed to working with staff and volunteers to provide programs for children through adults that reflect her conviction that worship, education and mission must be interwoven into the fabric of our faith and include all people. She holds a Masters of Education in Special Education with the Inclusion Specialty Certificate at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Cindy and her husband Forrest have three grown children, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. Ask her and she will show you pictures.
Bethany Peerbolte, Youth Ministries Director, is currently enrolled at Ecumenical Theological Seminary working on her Masters of Divinity. She has a passion for youth of all abilities and hopes to stay in youth ministry even after graduation. If she isn’t at the church or school she can be found dancing tango, playing disc golf, or watching American Ninja Warrior. She has a growing collection of turtles, and loves Starbucks Frappuccino’s!
Rev. Dr. Kathryn Thoresen, DMin., Parish Associate, known as Kate, has served on staff of local congregations as well as on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. She has also worked with the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary of Detroit. As a Parish Associate , she oversees the Foster/Adoptive Families Partnerships missions at First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham.
On a community wide level, Kate coordinates the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care. This rapidly expanding ecumenical movement is a catalyst for congregations of all faiths to connect with the 13,000 Michigan children in foster care. They meet to hear inspiring stories, network together and find concrete ways to partner with service agencies on behalf of foster children. Together they all are making positive differences in the lives of foster children, families and aging out youth. The FCC meets in various locations in Southeast Michigan and has hosted representatives from over 100 congregations and 30 service agencies. For additional information and to sign up for emails, see www.faithcommunitiescoalition.org. There are many ways to help our foster children through donations of needed items as well as personal involvement.
This mission has been recognized by Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan Department of Human Services, Maura Corriga in their 2012 Faith-Based award recognizing efforts concerning foster children. In September, Kate was among the 30 recipients honored by the African American newspaper, The Michigan Chronicle, in their Pastors Salute.
Kate is married to Tom Thoresen, also actively involved with FCC. They have three adult children, one grandson and are licensed respite foster parents.
Rev. Julie Madden, MDiv., Parish Associate, assists with pastoral care, visitation and worship. Julie received her Masters of Divinity from Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. She is married to Ben Beale and they have two sons, Dan and Sam.
Dawn Swarthout, Communications Coordinator, has been a member of First Presbyterian for 23 years and has been the Communications Coordinator since 2011. Dawn has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan. Her primary responsibilities include publishing the Sunday bulletins, First Things, First News, the FPC Wednesday weekly email and other church publications. Dawn and her husband, Ken, have two sons, both are freshmen, one at North Farmington High School and one at Michigan State University. Dawn sings in the Chancel Choir and is on the Communications Ministry. Dawn and her family are active in Boy Scout Troop 179 as well as their younger son's soccer teams, FIRST Robotics and school activities.
Kim McGlynn, Membership Coordinator, has been a member of First Presbyterian Church since 1997 and Membership Coordinator since 2005. She has her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University majoring in Advertising. Kim worked at Ross Roy, Inc. and J. Walter Thompson before starting her family. Kim and her husband, Dan, have 3 children. She has been active in the life of the church right from the get go. She sang in the Chancel Choir, directed the Children’s Choir, is an active member of Presbyterian Women, has sat on numerous church committees, attends Covenant Group and small Bible study groups and looks forward to more fun at FPC. Kim would LOVE to talk to anyone about the wonderful happenings here at church and how to become active in the FPC community
Carl Fischer, Business Manager, works on a volunteer basis with matters of finance, personnel and property. He is retired from Ford Motor Company.
Jay Kafarski, Financial Assistant, assists Our Finance Director, Martha Smith, with data entry needs. Jay comes to us after retirement from a very successful banking career. He is married to Mary and they have a daughter, Jennifer. The Kafarskis are members of First Presbyterian Church Birmingham.