Meet the Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church Team
The Rev. Dr. Seth E. Weeldreyer
Seth is all about relationships as we share a common longing to live with Holy Love in our world. Amid all our stories, questions, new perspectives, and evolving challenges, living faith can be beautiful and 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. Programs of study took him to Hope College, Michigan State University, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia , and McCormick Theological Seminary. He enjoys serving widely in our Kalamazoo community and in our Presbyterian Church (USA). Associate membership in the Iona Community remains an important commitment. Seth has been published, lead retreats and pilgrimages (Iona, El Camino de Santiago, Holy Land), and coordinated opportunities for clergy education and fellowship. Music, sports (cycling now, having given up soccer, tennis, basketball), reading, movies, building his 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 served with the people of FPC since August 2017.
Chrissy graduated 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 dogs Ace and Echo and their cat, Calvin (a seminary stray who “providentially” wandered their way one January).
Chrissy has a passion for working to make the world, and the community around her a more loving, welcoming, inclusive and anti-racist place. She volunteers with local community theatre groups, Animal Rescue Project, and a number of groups working locally to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and working against systemic racism and poverty.
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 unhoused teenagers in Peterborough, England in 1992-1993. She 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 and social justice opportunities rooted in racial equity work in Kalamazoo and beyond. She is married to Kevin, a librarian, and mother to two delightful young adult daughters, Abigail and Rachael. Kathleen adores art in all its forms, including paintings, movies, novels, poetry, an eclectic selection of music, time in the kitchen, and is always up for a walk in the great outdoors, no matter the weather. For Kathleen, life without a dog is incomplete.
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hakken Candido
Parish Associate and 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.
Interim Director of Music
Michael Palmer is a native of Michigan and has lived in and out of the Kalamazoo area since 1978. A church musician for more than 30 years, he has served congregations in California, Florida and Michigan. Michael is a graduate of the University of Southern California, Western Michigan University and the Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Michael, along with wife Barbara, resides in Portage, are proud parents of six wonderful children and, adopted humans to Max, the most ‘chill’ of Golden Retrievers!
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 FPC she retired from IKON Office Solutions, formerly DeGroot Office Technology, where she held a variety of positions in the finance department.
Louise has four adult children who have blessed her with nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. When she is not at church she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Shawn joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in 2006 as a custodian. In 2019, she was promoted to Building Superintendent. She is married and has three grown children and two beautiful grandchildren. Her favorite time is any time spent with her family.
Hannah joined the FPC staff in July of 2021. She came to us with a strong background in digital media and a willingness to work creatively with the things we still print. She graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2019 and has worked as a freelancer, mainly online, creating projects on a contract basis. She is enjoying becoming part of an office team!
When not at work, Hannah enjoys hanging out at home with her cat and her boyfriend. She enjoys making crafts and baking.
Director of Youth and Families
Meredith Alspach joined FPC Staff in May 2021 as Director of Youth and Families! Meredith has served as the Director of Faith Formation at First Presbyterian Church, Richland, since 2015. She was instrumental, with past FPC youth director, Rob Bradford, in forming the Kalamazoo County-wide youth group and has been working with the youth for the since 2015. She has a deep passion for children and youth, and believes totally in their importance to and full participation in the life of the church. She has participated in and taken leadership in the National
Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) organization, including serving as a resource for other educators regarding all new PC(USA) curriculum offerings, and leading a workshop on re-imagining youth ministry at the national APCE conference.
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to serve this congregation! I’ve been playing organ for almost five years, professionally for over two years. Currently, I’m playing at First Baptist Church right across the park. I have a deep love for music of all kinds, which I’m delighted to bring to this church. Aside from music, I enjoy playing video games, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my two cats, Bean and Weena. I can’t wait to meet you all soon!