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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Extension: 390
Melissa Anne served as campus minister from ’98-’00 before rejoining our staff in 2005 — after producing two children and a Master’s Degree in Marital and Family Therapy. In addition to her experience in ministry to small congregations in Oregon, Alabama, and Pennsylvania, she worked as a family grief and crisis counselor for Hospice of Lansing and as a therapist at Michigan State's Family and Child Clinic. Her M.Div. is from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Known to most as “Mel”, she marvels at the loving community that has evolved at First Pres, welcoming vulnerability and honesty, seeking justice for everyone, accepting all, and incorporating the loving compassionate ministry of our Deacons, Stephen Ministers, Retired Clergy, and an army of volunteers who help with meals, transportation, errands, and more — known as the “Helping Hands” group. Her special joy is working with the “Promises” group of specially-abled young adults. At First Pres, Mel feels called to build a culture of compassion, expanding spiritual pilgrimage for all ages, and helping support and nurture small groups for every member of First Pres. For Mel, the church is at its best when ministers lead from behind and get out of the way so that everyone can use their God-given gifts to serve others. In Christ’s kingdom here, all are accepted, and all are loved, and all can partner with the Holy Spirit to spread kindness, seek justice, and support the afflicted.
A morning person, she enjoys reading, running, weight-lifting, biking, good coffee, exploring craft breweries, spending time with her college-age sons, and hanging out with her two Golden Retrievers.
Reverend Jay Sanderford
Email: email@example.com, Extension: 340
Jay 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.
Reverend Evans McGowan
Assistant Pastor of Faith Formation and Campus Ministries
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Extension: 346
After 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 getting the outdoros (including soccer, hiking, biking and paddling), listening to podcasts, working on his own creative writing projects, and staying involved in the education of our young people.
Reverend Mark Mares
Minister of Youth & Families
Email: email@example.com, 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.
Megan graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2021. She spent her undergraduate years at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where she earned a BA degree in Music with a Psychology minor in December 2017. There Megan served an internship in a local church to explore her calling. A flutist, Megan envisioned a career as a musician or music educator before discerning a call to be a pastor for small congregations.
Megan comes from Independence, Missouri, and has worked in her home parish and an urban church in Kansas City. A candidate for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in her home presbytery, Heartland Presbytery in Kansas, Megan will be ready to be ordained this fall after completing a full unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Kansas City over the summer.
Megan has shared two experiences that formed her call to ministry. First, she notes that she was shaped by her summer experiences working with children and youth as a camp counselor in her local Presbyterian camp ministry. Secondly, she credits the experience of worshipping in a PCUSA congregation with a female pastor for opening the doors and windows that have led her toward parish ministry.
In her application for the Residency Program, Megan writes: “I want to start working full time in a parish setting where I will be surrounded by those who want to encourage me in ministry. I think this program will be helpful for my goals because of the program’s learning structure, focus on growing a pastoral identity, and deepening my current strengths for ministry.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Extension: 354
Hannah received her Master of Divinity degree in May from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Leaving her southern California roots behind, she attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, graduating with a degree in English and global development studies in 2018. Her time at Grinnell gave her the opportunity to reframe her faith, connect with several nourishing interfaith groups, develop healthy mentoring relationships with the campus chaplain and rabbi and settle into an active life in the faith community of Grinnell First Presbyterian Church. It was there she found the space and scope to ask the hard questions of faith that led her to discern a call to ministry.
In the dynamic interfaith setting of Union Seminary, Hannah found that her work as coordinator for the seminary’s daily chapel services has added depth to her sense of pastoral vocation, as has her fieldwork at the nearby Broadway Presbyterian Church. Hannah hopes that her Residency experience “will help me hone and develop my pastoral voice as a Presbyterian.” She is interested in important social justice concerns, as well as working with college students and young adults while engaging in all the ways that our church ministers to the university community in Ann Arbor. First Pres, she believes, will introduce her to a “wide range of ministry contexts” and prepare her for effective ministry. “I’m always surprised and delighted by the new ways I learn about God from the people and communities I meet; I know that will be true in Ann Arbor as well.”
A candidate for ministry in the PCUSA in her Presbytery in Iowa, Hannah anticipates ordination in the fall. Hannah enjoys running, hiking, and a full range of outdoor activities.
Reverend Matthew Warfield
Matt hails from western Michigan and grew up in Holland. He is a boyhood friend and seminary classmate of Rev. Mark Mares, our Minister for Youth and Families.
Matt was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church of America (RCA) on June 27 at Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland. As a minister in the RCA, Matt can serve a Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation under a Formula of Agreement which recognizes equality of ordination status among several denominations including the PCUSA and the RCA. Matt earned a BS in Psychology from Grand Valley State College before completing his Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, in 2017.
Until recently he served as associate pastor (part-time) at Embody Christ Fellowship (RCA) in Holland and has a long history of working with young people in his community. While awaiting his move to Ann Arbor, Matt works as an office manager and salesperson for Prestige Auto Sales.
Growing up, Matt was an avid basketball player, but he also loved reading and creative writing as a child. He first read Langston Hughes in elementary school and began writing poetry then. When he was twelve, he was given the opportunity to preach at his home church, Maple Avenue Ministries, in Holland. This was a formative experience—from that moment, he had a growing sense that his life’s work would be to proclaim the gospel and stand for justice on behalf of the “least of these” in our society.
Matt has a warm pastoral presence that has impressed everyone. In his application for the Residency program, Matt wrote: “I believe that becoming a Resident at First Pres will prepare and mature me like no other program. First Pres’ commitment and work toward abolishing systemic racism, white privilege and gaining lasting justice and equality make a perfect fit for my God-given call.”