Pastoral and Program Staff

Available at (734) 662-4466 (Extensions listed below)

Looking for a list of contacts with emails and extensions?  View the contact list on the main "Staff/Leadership" page.

Reverend Melissa Anne Rogers
Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Congregational Life

Email: mrogers@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 390

Rev. Melissa Anne RogersMelissa Anne, who rejoined our staff in the summer of 2005, brings both pastoral and clinical training to her work in pastoral care. In addition to her experience in ministry to small congregations in Oregon, Alabama, and Pennsylvania, she brings clinical training as a marital and family therapist, having worked as a family grief and crisis counselor for Hospice of Lansing, and as a therapist at Michigan State's Family and Child Clinic. She earned her Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy from Michigan State University in 2002.

Melissa Anne previously served First Presbyterian as Interim Campus Minister, and was Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian in Ann Arbor from 1995 to 1998. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

A morning person, she enjoys cross-country skiing, biking, good coffee, brewing beer, and spending time with her family and pets.

Reverend Jay Sanderford
Associate Pastor

Email: jsanderford@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 340

Rev. Jay SanderfordJay grew up in the mid-Atlantic and upper South, moving between North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, he worked as a carpenter for several years and considered the construction business as an option before heading to Yale Divinity School as a step toward ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Before arriving at First Pres in Ann Arbor in 2013, Jay served as pastor, associate pastor, director of a not-for-profit and new church development pastor in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Maryland.

Jay embraces First Pres’ vision to be both a place for warm hospitality, faithful formation and vibrant worship and to be a force to pursue God’s good work for compassion, peace and justice in Ann Arbor, in the nearby universities and in the world and communities beyond. “Relationships fuel my work at First Pres. The incredible human resources of this church, our congregation, lay leaders and staff, provide the church with dynamic resources to influence our community with the gospel of good news.” As a learning community, Jay is inspired by the inclusive, positive and reflective theological project that is at the heart of our common life and service. He believes that as people of faith we are called to be redemptive, and not divisive in this cultural moment, and that our shared lives are shaped by practices of justice, mercy and humility.

Jay lives with his wife, Beth, in Dexter with an abundance of gardens, flowers and several lively Labrador retrievers.  Jay and Beth share a passion for hiking, walking along the Huron River, good books, paddling, camping and family adventures with their two grown children. Their son Drew lives in Virginia with his wife Gillian Hatch. Alyson, their daughter, lives in Florida with her husband Daniel Bowen and family.

Rev. Evans McGowan
Assistant Pastor of Faith Formation and Campus Ministries

Email: emcgowan@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 346

Evans McGowanAfter serving as a Resident Minister from 2011 to 2013, Evans McGowan spent the following four years in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. There he taught social studies and math at a private middle school, Pu‘ukumu, and preached regularly at a small local UCC congregation with a big name, Church of the Pacific. 

Evans’ education includes a BA of Political Science from Davidson College in North Carolina and an M. Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary in California. While in the Bay Area, Evans worked as an Adult Ministries Intern. He was born in Austin, Texas, schooled in Delaware, and in 2005 lived abroad in Kenya as a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer. 

Evans enjoys going up to Walloon Lake where his in-laws live, getting outdoors for sports, hiking, biking and paddling, reading up on current events, working on his own creative writing projects, and staying involved in the education of our young people.

Rebeca (Beca) Torres-Davenport
Coordinator of Children and Family Ministry

Beca Torres-DavenportEmail: btorres-davenport@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 342

Beca was born in Ann Arbor, raised in Cedar Rapids, IA, and came back to finish high school in Ann Arbor all the while growing up in the Presbyterian church. 

When not working, Beca loves to spend time with her husband, son, newborn daughter, and parents, exploring as many places as possible - especially if it involves animals. When there is a free moment, Beca is found at the gym, dancing or reading.

Rev. Mark Mares
Minister of Youth & Families

Mark MaresEmail: mmares@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 353

Mark is originally from Holland, Michigan, and a graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary.  Mark enjoys soccer, so much so that he named his dog Lio (short for the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi!).  He is also a Detroit Tigers fan and visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown twice while in New York.

Mark enjoys the energy that working with youth brings. At his previous position, he led local pilgrimages with youth, where they looked at local history and challenges for the people at that time. They then explored the spiritual practices that sustained them. When you meet Mark, you will find one of his greatest skills is listening thoughtfully. He is not intimidated by tough conversations: One of his more meaningful moments as a high schooler was participating in gatherings that would bring rival gangs together.

A lifelong learner, Mark was influenced at a young age by multi-generational and multi-cultural approaches to liturgy and worship. Mark leads an intergenerational team to develop and nurture our ministry with youth and their families at First Pres.

David VanderMeer
Minister of Music and Fine Arts

Dave VanderMeerEmail: dvandermeer@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 347

Dave completed his undergraduate studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey and received a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology (Worship Concentration) in 2017 from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Dave is a Certified Church Musician through, and past President of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM), an organization that provides resources, conferences, publications and a network of members engaged in worship, music, and the arts worldwide. He has served as the Conference Director for PAM Worship and Music Conferences at Mo-Ranch in Hunt, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Montreat, North Carolina. He is a member of the Hymn Society of America and Canada, Choristers Guild, National Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, American Guild of Organists, Handbell Musicians of America, Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM).

Dave is married to Brent Ivey. Dave's daughter Caryn and son-in-law Caleb live in Texas, and will be first time parents in September!  Dave and Brent enjoy cooking, travel, arts, nature, reading, and entertaining.

David Hufford
Organist

Email: dhufford@firstpresbyterian.org

David is a highly accomplished musician who has brought a wealth of experience as organist, vocalist, church musician and organ techician to our staff.  Born in Toledo, David began his musical journey at age six and secured his first church organist position at 16.  He was selected organist at a large Lutheran church at age 20 and served there several years.  During that time, he met a classmate of Dave VanderMeer, who gave David his first formal organ instruction and encouraged him to go to school to study music.

David was accepted into the University of Michigan Organ Department, and subsequently moved to Ann Arbor in 1991.  He won the 1993 Keyboard Day Organ Scholarship Competition and placed second in a National Hymn-Playing Competition in 1995.  He also was a featured recitalist at the Organ Historical Society National Convention in Detroit.  While completing his Marster's Degree, he received another organ scholarship as well as sang in the University Choir.  

In 1993, David helped establish the Renaissance Pipe Organ Company in Ann Arbor, which is well known for it's quality of work and has an impressive clientele that includes many prominent Detroit cathedrals and churches.  For many years, David has sung bass as part of the Dearborn-based, 85-member Vanguard Voices, and with a also with a select offshoot vocal ensemble, The Aeolian Chorale.  Since 2014 he has served as a staff organist at Ann Arbor's Historic Michigan Theater, where he personally rebuilt and restored its nearly 100-year-old Barton organ.

David and his partner, vocalist Randall Nicholls, are stalwart residents of Ann Arbor and enjoy opportunities to collaborate in making great music.  David also enjoys good food, coffee, a well-made cocktail, dabbling amateurishly in audio recording, and many types of hands-on-projects, such as home remodeling.

Barb DeLancey, RN
Parish Nurse

Email: bdelancey@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 350

Barb came to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan in the 1970s, and never left.  After completing both undergraduate (BSN) and graduate degrees (MSN) at UM, she worked for the next 20 years in the Emergency Department as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  She also has used her nursing skills in roles as a Poison Control Specialist, Camp Nurse, Parent-Child Nurse, and a nurse educator.

Barb has been married to her husband John for over 40 wonderful years, and they have three grown children, John, Jane and Claire.

Over 30 years ago, Barb and her husband discovered another wonderful family when they joined First Presbyterian Church.  They loved the strong children's program and rich congregational life.  Over the years Barb has been a choir member, an Elder, a Stephen Minister, and a Sunday School teacher.  She has come to appreciate the role a vibrant congregation serves in promoting the spiritual, physical and mental health of its members, as well as its wider community.

During her free time, Barb enjoys being active outside with friends - running, hiking, playing tennis, and biking.  She has a hard time sitting still!  

Stacey Pakela, RN
Parish Nurse

Email: spakela@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 450

Stacey decided to become a nurse after watching the show "Emergency!" when she was a young girl.  What she remembers most about the show was how touched she was to see people devote their lives to helping others, especially during times of great need and stress.  She decided then that she wanted to help others in this way as well. 

Stacey loves most being able to offer comfort and support to others in need, whether it be a physicial, emotional, or spiritual need.  Every situation in which she has a positive impact and touches someone in an uplifting way is a blessing to her and she is grateful to God for these opportunities!

Stacey moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and has been very grateful to be called here by God!  She and her husband Gregg have been married for over 31 years, and have four grown children.  She loves visiting Greenfield Village (it is her happy place!), cooking big Italian feasts, visiting with family and friends, making jewelry, drinking a good cup of coffee, listening to 70's music, and having a good book to read.

Rev. Andrew Frazier
Resident Minister

Email: afrazier@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 348

Andrew FrazierAndrew grew up an active young Presbyterian in Carrollton, Georgia. As the son of two singers, Andrew’s childhood was filled with music: taking piano lessons, sitting in on his father’s opera rehearsals, and singing in numerous state-wide choirs. After a particularly formative summer as a vocal major in the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, Andrew decided to pursue a piano performance degree at the University of Georgia (UGA). He quickly realized how much he missed singing, so he switched degree programs and earned his BMus in Voice Performance in 2009.

Andrew spent the six years between college and seminary waiting tables, and he says of that time: “I learned about myself in ways I would not change, even though the lessons were often painful, and it was through those experiences that I was called back to the church and to seminary.” Andrew became a member of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas in March of 2014 and spent the next year volunteering with the senior high youth group before enrolling in Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the fall of 2015. During his four years in Austin, he became interested in the intersection of faith, worship, music, the creative arts, lament, doubt, and hopelessness.

Andrew feels particularly called to pastoral care and congregational life. His gifts of vulnerability, compassion, incarnational presence, and authenticity were affirmed during his CPE internship as a hospital chaplain, and it was through this work that he realized his desire to walk with people through the sorrows and joys of their lives. Andrew is excited to begin serving and learning from the First Pres community, particularly because of the significant transition period the church is currently in. Andrew says: “I believe we grow the most during transitions – times when we’re invited to draw nearer to God and to one another – and I’m excited to grow in faith and love with the First Pres community.”

Rev. Khayla Johnson
Resident Minister

Email: kjohnson@firstpresbyterian.org, Extension: 354

Khayla JohnsonI was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. I was born into a large family and raised in the Presbyterian tradition. I am the oldest of three children with a younger sister and  brother. My family means a lot to me, and they are a daily source of encouragement in my life. As far back as I can go within the family roots is to my great grandmother’s parents. My great grandmother was the matriarch of the family and everyone knew that. She was born on a farm to a family in Charleston, South Carolina. She was one of seven children; one of her six siblings is still alive today.

For as long as I can remember, my family has been a part of the Presbyterian faith tradition. At one point in my life I was worshiping in the same church as my great grandmother. She has since passed away, and I am still worshiping in that church. On any given Sunday you can see four generations of my relatives worshipping together. My family is a unique Christian family that understands the values of the faith tradition and teaches them to their children and grandchildren. I grew up in Saint James Presbyterian Church USA in Charleston, South Carolina. My mother and grandmother introduced me to church and helped nurture my relationship with God. When I was younger, I was always involved in the church, so I was taught a lot about who Christ is and what he did for us. My grandmother made sure that we went to church every Sunday and most days took us to Sunday school as well. As I grew older, I began to understand who Christ is to me and how much I loved him. This led me to Columbia Theological Seminary, where I graduated in May.

Before entering into seminary, I thought I was called to work in youth and young adult ministry. I knew how much relationships at that point in my life meant to me, and I knew I was wired to do that work well. I am still passionate about the need for the right person to do that work long term, especially in a time when we see a gap in the ages of those who attend church. After spending the last three years being pushed and learning about my leadership skills, I am beginning to see my ministry expand. I am passionate about the work of social justice and advocating for those around me. I am passionate about the importance of teaching in the church and how that will help individuals deepen their relationships with God. God has called me to lead. God has called me to preach, teach, and build up communities. I am called to proclaim the Word of God in a variety of places.

My hobbies and interests include photography, drawing, and sports. Photography gives me a chance to capture authentic moments of people whether it’s good or bad - seeing people in ways they don’t see themselves and giving people these memories to look back on with friends and family. I enjoy spending time behind a camera, rather than being in front of one. I have used photography in seminary to create the We Are Columbia photo exhibit. Drawing takes me back to my child-like imagination of just drawing whatever I want and expressing myself. Sports are more like a stress reliever to run around and play like a kid enjoying the company of other people. I’ve spent my seminary career coaching six-year olds in soccer each week with the YMCA. In addition, I find these are ways to build relationships with a variety of people. I am interested in the ways we can express ourselves, instead of just sitting in a room talking.