Rev. 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 spent 17 years as a public school teacher/administrator and then ten years as an adjunct Professor of Education at Oakland University, working with student teachers, from which she recently retired. They have two grown children and one grandson. John believes that God is doing great things in and through this congregation for the community, the national church and the world.
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 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.
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.
Deneen Davis, Office Administrator, has been a member of the staff since 2022.
Deneen, and her husband, Damon, have two teenage children. She attends Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit in the hopes of becoming a hospital chaplain.
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.
Stephen Krupp, 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.
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.
Antonia Kokkinakis, Financial Administrator
Martha Piesko, Director of Christian Education and All Abilities Inclusion Ministry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.