Meet the Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church Team
The Rev. Dr. Seth E. Weeldreyer
Head of Staff
Seth is all about relationships. Listening to stories about life experience. Puzzling over questions. Getting to know new perspectives on our fascinating world. Sharing reflection on, inspiration for, and action in life together. Out of these relationships, he cherishes the privilege of leading worship, empowering church life together, and simply gathering for thoughtful conversation or in a more critical moment. At heart, our common longing for faith is fairly simple: Who is God, the Holy One? Who are we humans, (blessed and imperfect ones)?
And how do we live as one with Sacred Love in our world? Living faith can get complicated. That’s when we need each other. That’s why we have the church.
Seth came to serve at First Presbyterian, Kalamazoo in July 2010. Previously he served congregations in Marshall, Michigan and Dunbar, Scotland. Various degree programs took him to Hope College, Michigan State University, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia , and McCormick Theological Seminary. He enjoys serving more widely in our Kalamazoo community, and in our Presbyterian Church (USA). Associate membership in the Iona Community remains an important personal and communal discipline. Seth has been published, lead retreats and pilgrimages (Iona and El Camino de Santiago), and coordinated opportunities for clergy continuing education and fellowship. Music, sports (cycling now, having given up soccer), reading, movies, building his own home, travel, and family activities bring balanced joy and purpose to life with his wife, Suzanne and three children.
The Rev. Christina “Chrissy” Westbury
Chrissy has a passion for people. She works to forge connections and encourage community everywhere she goes. A high-energy extrovert, Chrissy loves preaching, teaching, and advocating for community connectedness in the church and in the world.
She has a strongly Trinitarian theology focusing on the idea that to be created in the image of the Triune God means to be created to be in dynamic and loving relationship with God and with one another.
Chrissy was called to serve First Presbyterian in August, 2017. This is her first ordained call after graduating from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in May, 2017 with a Master of Divinity degree, a Master of Arts (Religion), and a certificate in Educational Ministry. Before entering seminary, she served as Director of Christian Education at Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church in Midland, MI. Her family includes her husband and partner, Dirk Westbury and their two children, as well as their dog, Bauer, and their cat, Calvin (a seminary stray who “providentially” wandered their way one January). Chrissy was an active member of the LPTS community, serving on the Seminary Council as a student representative, leading the Seminary’s effort to become an Earth Care School, singing in the Seminary choir, heading up the Agape Theater group, serving as a teaching assistant, and as a Student Chapel Coordinator. Outside of school, she loves theater, books, anything “crafty” and creative, and baking.
She is the recipient of the Norma Rich Merit Scholarship, The Burton Z. Cooper Prize in Constructive Theology, The Melanie Lane Preaching Award, The Bernice Bean and Gladys Kendall Prize for Academic Excellence, and The Fielding Lewis Walker Award in Doctrinal and Historical Theology.
The Rev. Kathleen Robertson King
Kathleen graduated from Western Michigan University with a BSW in 1992, and was a young adult volunteer through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) working with homeless teenagers in Peterborough, England in 1992-1993. Kathleen graduated from Louisville Seminary in 1999, and was ordained in 2000. Kathleen is a campus minister at United Campus Ministry in Kalamazoo, which provides students with service/learning opportunities in Kalamazoo and beyond. Kathleen is married to Kevin, a librarian, and mother to two delightful daughters, Abigail, age 16 and Rachael, age 12. Kathleen adores art in all its forms, including paintings, movies, novels, poetry, an eclectic selection of music, and time in the kitchen. For Kathleen, life without a dog is incomplete.
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hakken Candido
Kalamazoo College Chaplain & Director of Religious and Spiritual Life
Elizabeth serves as Kalamazoo College Chaplain & Director of Religious and Spiritual Life. She received her M.Div from Harvard Divinity School and graduated with a Doctorate in Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. Liz is an avid hiker, reader of good books, and vegan chef. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband Bob, two daughters, Clara and Abigail, and her golden retriever Sizzle.
Associate for Youth and Families
Hello, My name is Joseph Burrel and I was recently hired to the position of Associate for Youth and Families! I’d love to share a little information about myself!
I am the husband of Stephanie Burrel, with 4 wonderful children, Olivia 21, Joseph 15, Jacob 12 and Jordan 6 years old. I have been married for 25 years and enjoy singing, drawing, coaching, mentoring and have been involved in youth leadership, programing and development for over 30 years! I began working in youth ministry as the Youth Chair of Christ Temple Church Muskegon, MI when I was 21 years old. I continued to work with youth in varying capacities and was eventually elected as the Vice President of the Northern and Western District Councils in the state of Michigan within my church organization. I had the responsibility of coordinating semi-annual Youth Councils for youth ministries from over 52 different churches. I served in that capacity for two 4 year terms before I was employed by the State of Michigan. I worked for the state 12 years in the department of Labor and Economic Growth, after which I reunited with my passion for youth by being hired as the Youth Development Coordinator and Community Center Director for The Salvation Army Kalamazoo. Through this position I was afforded the opportunity to created youth, and young adult programs, provide oversight for The Salvation Army Kalamazoo Community Center and After-school program, and maintained communications both written and verbal between youth, adults, and parents. I had the pleasure of facilitating all youth, and student involvement for The Salvation Army and their Community Center. This employment lead me to working with youth as a Youth Development Coach for Communities In Schools (CIS). I work with students at Maple Street Middle School to support them in their efforts to be successful academically, with school attendance and behavior. I engage students in multiple ways to exercise CIS’s model for student strategies, engagement, and resource management in the Kalamazoo Public Schools system. I am excited to have this opportunity to bring my experience, knowledge, and expertise to the position of Associate for Youth and Families to serve the needs of First Presbyterian Church Kalamazoo!
Dr. Patricia Stromsta
Director of Christian Education
Bio coming soon!
Cindy holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Western Michigan University. She has been a church musician since the 5th grade, and has served churches in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan as Director of Music, organist, pianist, choir director, and handbell director. In addition to her position as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church, she is in her 19th year as Director of Choirs at Portage Central High School and Middle School where she directs 6 choirs daily and is the Music Director the annual musical production at Portage Central High School. Cindy’s additional theater credits include Music Director credits at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Farmers Alley Theatre, and the Barn Theatre. She has also served as Guest Conductor for the Kalamazoo Singers. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, American Guild of Organists, and the Michigan School Vocal Music Association.
Ann began as the FPC office administrator in June, 2008. Prior to working at FPC she was employed as a legal secretary for 15 years and also taught Adult Education.
When Ann is not at church she enjoys spending time with her adorable, mischievous dog, Kaeko. She also spends as much time as possible spoiling her great niece and great nephews.
Louise began as the church’s bookkeeper in September of 2010 and took over responsibilities as the Financial Coordinator in June of 2011. Prior to working at KFPC she retired from IKON Office Solutions, formerly DeGroot Office Technology, where she was held a variety of positions in the finance department.
Louise and her husband Clare have four children who have blessed them with nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. When she is not at church she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Ann Ross RN, BSN, FCN
Ann has been a nurse for 21 years. She has served as the Health Ministry Coordinator at First Presbyterian since June 2013. Ann completed her Faith Community Nursing certificate in November 2013 at Calvin College. As Health Ministry Coordinator Ann works with the Health Ministry Committee to serve the congregation by providing education, services of Healing and Comfort, and healthy living ideas. As one of the parish nurses, Ann works in concert with the ministers to visit those who are ill and shut in.
Ann has 4 grown children, and two granddaughters. After work, Ann enjoys singing, weaving, walking, and a good book.
Shawn joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in 2006. She is married and has three grown children and two beautiful grandchildren. Her favorite time is that spent with her family.
Nate came to FPC by way of an AARP work re-entry program, which lasted for two years. During the last seven years he has been employed as KFPC’s part time receptionist. Nate enjoys his position at the church, and believes that this opportunity was truly a blessing. In his spare time he enjoys fishing and spending time with his 14 grandchildren.
Committees of Session…
In the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) local Congregations govern themselves through an elected board called the Session. Much of the work of directing the mission and ministry of the church is done by Session Committees, in conjunction with the professional staff.