To reach any of our staff members, call 248-644-2040, then use their extension or click on their names below for their email. If they are not in their offices, please leave a voice mail message and they will return the call as soon as possible.
Rev. Lou Nyiri, Pastor & Head of Staff, came to Everybody's Church August 14, 2023. Rev. Nyiri grew up in State College, PA, and identifies himself as a “cradle Presbyterian," having been raised, confirmed and ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament at State College Presbyterian Church. He attended Penn State, earning a BA in speech communications, before attending Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he earned an MDiv. Following seminary, he became an associate pastor for youth and congregational care-giving ministries Lou is married to Candace Veon, whom he met on the first day of seminary orientation. Lou loves working with children, youth and adults, whether repairing homes, leading fellowship groups, or teaching confirmation. His leadership also includes the ministries of Peacemaking, Deacons, Stephen Ministry, Fellowship, and Outreach. In 2024, Lou is to receive a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with focus on Youth and Worship.
Andrew Herbruck, MA, Director of Music Ministries, has been at First Presbyterian Church Birmingham for 10 years. He previously served eight years as Director of Music at Grosse Pointe Woods Presbyterian Church. He received his undergraduate 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 innovative programs for children and youth. Andrew is committed to FPC’s vision of inclusivity and to its outreach in metropolitan Detroit where he owns a home, and is a part of that community.
Dawn Swarthout, Director of Communications, has been a member of First Presbyterian for over 30 years and has been on staff since 2011. Dawn has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan. Dawn and her husband, Ken, have two adult sons that they love to spend time with especially up north. Dawn sings in the Chancel Choir.
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.
Tony Braxton, Custodian, is responsible for cleaning the building and building room set up. Tony has been in the janitorial business for over 25 years. He and his wife have four children. His wife and son also clean the classrooms for FPC Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center.
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.
Rev. Ted Thode, MDiv., Parish Associate, assists with leading worship and the youth. He and his wife, Erica, have two young daughters. Ted became a Parish Associate at FPC in January 2016. Ted graduated from Princeton Theological Seminiary in 2011. Ted runs a small e-commerce business when he's not volunteering at FPC.
Hadley Moak is the Coordinator for Young Adults with Disabilities. Hadley grew in up this church, was baptized and confirmed here, and she is obtaining her doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
Cindy Merten, MEd., Educator Emeritus, came to First Presbyterian Church Birmingham in 1999 after serving in a similar capacity at another congregation for 11 years. CIndy retired on June 30, 2022 after 23 years with FPC.
Rev. Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Thoresen, DMin., Parish Associate, oversees the Foster/Adoptive Families Partnerships missions at First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham.
On a community, state-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 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 in kind donations of needed items as well as personal involvement.
Kate is married to Tom Thoresen, a deacon at Everybody’s Church. They have served as respite foster parents, have three adult children and two grandkids.
Martha Piesko, Director of Christian Education and All Abilities Inclusion Ministry. Martha joined the staff in 2022 after having served Orchard Lake Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Joanne Blair, Pastoral Liaison for Stephen Ministry. Joanne retired from her position as an associate pastor at FPC and now is focusing on her liaison role for Stephen Ministry. Joanne has been a lifelong member of FPC.
Dawn Buley, Office Administrator, joined the staff in 2023 after having volunteered in many capacities for years. She maintains the church calendar and performs many administrative duties.
Quenten Matthews, Building Supervisor. Quenten joined the staff in 2023. Quenten previously worked at St. James Episcopal Church in Birmingham for 30 years.
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 adult children.
Amy Zimmer- Membership Coordinator, grew up as part of the First Presbyterian Church family and has many fond memories of mission trips, choir, Skyline and youth activities through the years. You will see Amy’s parents, and other family members around church, as they are long-time members. Amy has a BA in Filmmaking from Southern Methodist University, and spent time at Vanderbilt University Divinity School’s Theological Studies Master’s program with a focus on Race & Gender Issues. Amy's work as Membership Coordinator includes meeting, greeting, and connecting with visitors and members to help people know more about and become more connected with Everybody's Church.
Antonia Kokkinakis, Financial Administrator, joined the church staff in 2022.
Jolene Plotzke is currently the Children’s Choir director at FPC and a vocal music teacher at McGregor Elementary School. She was also the director of six outstanding choruses at Rochester High School from 2004-2016 and adjunct director at Stoney Creek High School from 2016-2018. Plotzke has been serving the K-12 vocal music students in the Rochester Community Schools for all 25 years of her teaching career.