Session (Governing Body)
The Presbyterian Church takes its name from the New Testament Greek word for "Elder": presbuteros. It describes the way the church is governed, with oversight resting on elected bodies at the congregational, regional and national levels.
The governing group in each congregation is called the Session, a body made up of men and women known as "Elders" who have been "set apart" by election and ordination into a supervisory role. The Session meets monthly to conduct the business of the church. "Teaching Elders" are the name for installed pastors in a congregation. They are also members of the Session with equal rights to the other Elders. At First Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Fairfax Fair, Rev. Dr. Brewster Gere and Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers are all installed pastors and are members of the Session.
Lay Elders generally serve for staggered three-year terms, with a third of the Session elected each year. Ordination is a for life designation. Past Elders are part of a group called - collequially - the College of Elders.
The Elders for 2013
Class of 2014: Karen Barks, John Brent, Virginia Bell, Diane Hockett, Roland Kibler, Pat Liljestrand, Bryan Magnuson, David Nerenz.
Class of 2015: Ann Andrews, Paul Brown, Tom Crawford, Jane Hayes, Prue Heikkinen, Henry Johnson, Jane Kinzinger, Paul Smith
Class of 2016: Ruth Barnard, Rick Boothman, David Butz, John Debbink, Kathy Hillig, Carter Hodgson, Dick Rigterink, Genie Sherard
Committees chaired by elders (or in a few cases, co-chaired by elders) oversee many aspects of church life. Co-Opted committee chairs are not currently elders.
The Session Committees
Session Coordinating Council: Rev. Dr. Fairfax F. Fair, Pastor/Head of Staff, Vice-Moderator; Diana Gardner, Clerk of Session
- Adult Education: Pat Liljestrand, Chair
- Campus Ministry: John Brent, Chair
- Children's Education and Family Ministries: Jane Kinzinger, Chair
- Congregational Life: Genie Sherard, Chair
- Finance: Carter Hodgson, Chair
- Mission: Virginia Bell, Chair
- Personnel: Rick Boothman, Chair
- Property: Rol Kibler, Chair
- Residency/Candidates Committee: Paul Smith, Chair
- Stewardship and Endowment: Prue Heikkinen, Chair
- Technology: Bryan Magnuson, Chair
- Worship: David Nerenz, Chair
- Youth Education and Ministries: Diane Hackett, Chair
Other offices and committees and special assignments:
- Clerk of Session: Diana Gardner
- Assistant Clerk of Session: Kathy Hillig
- Presbyterian Women Liaison: Jane Kinzinger
- Appointments: Bryan Magnusson, Chair
- Nominating Committee: Diane Hockett, Chair
- Presbytery Commissioners: Sue Leong, Co-Opted Chair
Human Resources Assessment & Organizational Charts - 2012
Change is inevitable in any dynamic environment. First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor is proud to consider itself home to an increasingly dynamic Church life and growing congregation. In April 2012, the Personnel Committee surveyed the significant changes of our recent past and looked ahead to the not-too-distant future, and agreed that the Church could benefit from a focused study of First Presbyterian Church's use of its human resources. The Committee unanimously decided to undertake a study of the way in which First Pres conducted the Church's business with two goals in mind: 1) to determine whether First Pres is using its human resources to their best advantage, and 2) to determine whether First Pres was doing its best to help its staff individually and collectively achieve joy and meaning in their work.