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. Jay Sanderford 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 2018

Class of 2018

Tom Brandt, Chris Dahl, Prue Heikkinen, Olivier Jolliet, Marita Servais, Kate Silbert, Carol Smith, Bill Wood

Tom BrandtChris DahlPrue HeikkinenOlivier Jolliet

Marita ServaisKate SilbertCarol SmithBill Wood

Class of 2019

Linda Dabrowski, Tim Dickinson, Kay Fuller, Henry Johnson, Lynne Lande, Karla Olson-Bellfi, Rick Platte, Pat Tamblyn

Linda DabrowskiTim DickinsonKay FullerHenry-JohnsonLynne LandeKarla Olson-BellfiRick PlattePat Tamblyn

Class of 2020

Dick Carlisle, Diane Hockett, Linda Koopman, Bill McPherson, Karen Mundus, Brian Schneidewind, Bill Upton, Sharon Watling

Dick CarlisleDiane HockettLinda Koopman Bill McPhersonKaren MundusBrian SchneidewindBill UptonSharon Watling

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.

Meeting Minutes for Current Session Members

To view previous meeting minutes, please visit the Session Meeting Minutes page. Please note, you will need a username and password to view these files.

Committees and Special Assignments

Nominating Committee Chair - Prue Heikkinen

Christian Education

  • Kate Silbert - Chair
  • Sharon Watling - Vice Chair
  • Diane Hockett
  • Karen Mundus

Financial Stewardship

  • Bill Wood - Chair
  • Pat Tamblyn - Vice Chair
  • Bill Upton


  • Chris Dahl - Chair
  • Tim Dickinson - Vice Chair
  • Linda Dabrowski
  • Prue Heikkinen


  • Tom Brandt - Chair
  • Karla Olson-Bellfi - Vice Chair
  • Henry Johnson

Congregational Life

  • Marita Servais - Chair
  • Lynne Lande - Vice Chair
  • Linda Koopmann


  • Carol Smith - Chair
  • Bill McPherson - Vice Chair
  • Olivier Jolliet


  • Rick Platte - Chair
  • Dick Carlisle - Vice Chair
  • Kay Fuller
  • Brian Schneidewind

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 the following goals in mind

  1. To determine whether First Pres is using its human resources to their best advantage
  2. To determine whether First Pres was doing its best to help its staff individually and collectively achieve joy and meaning in their work.