Church Governance

Presbyterian Polity

The Presbyterian form of government set forth in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is grounded in Scripture and built around the marks of the true Church.  It is in all things subject to Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church.  As the Church seeks reform and fresh direction, it looks to Jesus Christ who goes ahead of us and calls us to follow him.  United with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church seeks “not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

The Presbyterian system of government is established in the light of Scripture but is not regarded as essential for the existence of the Christian Church nor required of all Christians. 

What is unique about Presbyterian polity is that authority flows from both the local congregation up and from the denomination down.  The congregation is governed by presbyters: ruling elders and teaching elders. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation, but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.  Teaching elders are committed to equip the people of God for their ministry and witness.  Together ruling elders and teaching elders govern through an elected council called the Session (from the Latin meaning “to sit”). Ruling elders are elected for three year terms and a teaching elder moderates the Session.


Church Governance


The Session meets the third Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Anderson Conference Room.
The Session consists of ruling elders who oversee the governance of the church and the spiritual growth and support of its members.

Moderator: Pastor
Clerk of Session: Karen Doerr

Matt Fong
Kim Hermann
Susan Hoff
Al Meyer

Mary Olsen
Chris Junker
Erik Nielsen
Tim Redline

Sharon Behl Brooks
Karen Doerr
Kay Georgiana
Harold Korb
Kraig Lofquist

Committees of the Session are Global Mission and Local Social Witness, Congregational Life, Christian Education, and Worship, Arts and Music.

Global Mission and Social Witness Committee

The Global Mission and Social Witness Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m.
This committee is responsible for developing our congregation’s relationship to the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly’s state, regional, national and international mission initiatives and those for our ecumenical partners in correspondence with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by supporting, interpreting, and communicating the story of their work to our congregation.  This committee is also responsible for developing our congregation’s relationship to the local ecumenical ministries and for developing, promoting and overseeing our own concrete programs of Christian social witness in Hastings, Adams County, and the surrounding areas, with special attention to the areas of justice, peacemaking, ecology, hunger, housing, refugees, immigration, and social services – both religious and secular.

Moderator: Susan Hoff
Secretary: Sharon Brooks 
Session Reps: Sharon Brooks, Susan Hoff
Staff Rep: Kili Wenburg

Sharon Behl Brooks
Phil Odom
Denny Storer

Pamela Lainson
Jane Marsh

Susan Hoff
Jeni Howard
Meg Stewart-Magee
Carole Storer

Mission Connections:
Hyeyoung-lee and Kurt Esslingler, South Korea

Rachel Weller

Kristin Hamner
Calle General Domingo Mayl #32
Ensanche Quisequeya
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Congregational Life Committee 

Congregational Life Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Parlor.
Congregational Life provides hospitality, fellowship programs, and events which draw people together for recognition, celebration, encouragement and enjoyment of the church family.  The committee develops and oversees evangelism and renewal efforts, membership recruitment, new member integration and church marketing.

Moderator: Al Meyer
Session Reps: Kraig Lofquist, Al Meyer
Staff Rep: 

Linda Donohue
Jim Donohue
Bonnie Grams
Carol Grummert
Al Meyer
Bev Stein

Shannon Welton

Sub-committees: Fun and Fellowship
                            Publicity, Recruitment and Nurture
                             Evangelism and Membership
                                       New Member Class: Kili Wenburg

Christian Education Committee

Christian Education Committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the Anderson Conference Room.  
The CE committee develops and oversees educational ministries of the church for children, youth, college-aged, and adult individuals.

Moderator: Matt Fong
Secretary: Kim Hermann
Staff Reps: Stephanie Brader, Kili Wenburg
Library: Sue Medsker-Nedderman
Session Reps: Matt Fong (2016), Kim Hermann (2016), Chris Junker (2018), Harold Korb (2018)                      

Nancy Grams
Kenton Grams

Stacey Eddleman
Irina Belikova-Erickson
Kris Horton
Jessica Bauer

Laurie Lofquist
Barbara Sunderman


Worship, Arts and Music Committee

Worship, Arts and Music Committee (WAM) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Anderson Conference Room.  
WAM oversees and directs the worship and music life of the church in accord with the Presbyterian Directory of Worship. The committee encourages the use of all arts in the life of the congregation.

Moderator: Erik Nielsen
Session Reps: Erik Nielsen, Kay Georgiana
Secretary: Mary Olsen
Staff Reps: Pastor, Tim Canady
Music Coordinator: Tim Canady

Erik Nielsen

Alice Throckmorton

Ginny Locke

Music Staff: Tim Canady, Teresa Canady, Dr. Byron Jensen, Dr. Robin Koozer, Linda Johnson, Mary Plock, Alice Throckmorton

The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Anderson Conference Room.  
The Trustees oversee and maintain the financial viability of the church and maintain the properties and worldly assets of the congregation.

Moderator: Doug Soderquist
Vice Moderator: David Fisher
Secretary: Constance Malloy
Treasurer: Jane Bauer
Staff Reps: Pastor, Tarci Matthews

Mike Hogan
Constance Malloy
Doug Soderquist

Dave Fisher
John Harrington
Paul Krieger

Dianne Christensen
Paula Crozier
Kathy Utter

Committee Representatives
Memorial:  Kathy Utter
Nominating:  Paula Crozier
Budget:  Dave Fisher, Dianne Christensen
Foundation:  John Harrington
Scholarship:  Constance Malloy
Bldg. & Grounds:  Mike Hogan, Paul Krieger, Doug Soderquist

Stewardship, Interpretation and Mission

Stewardship, Interpretation and Mission develops, educates and encourages members to be good stewards of time, talent and money.  The committee oversees the financial life of the congregation and provides for congregational education and interpretation in the privilege of national and international mission of the denomination.

Board of Deacons

The Board of Deacons meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. in the Anderson Conference Room.  
The Deacons oversee the compassionate care of church members and similar outreach and witness to the larger community.  Each member of the congregation has a Deacon who is available to assist at times of need.  Deacons help take Communion to those who are homebound or in assisted living, and provide transportation to worship services.

Moderator: Jan Ham
Secretary: Mary Kay Lamaster

Craig Balnicke 
Jan Ham 
Mark Hemje
Alice Throckmorton
May Wierenga 

Mary Kay LaMaster 
Chad Murrell 
Kathleen Nelson 
Chris Schukei 
Rogene Wenburg 

Kim Creech 
Jeanne Hastings 
Jeff Howard
Scott Kummer 
Katherine Sachtleben 

Deacon Parish Assignments:
2016                                     2017                                       2018
Craig Balnicke          9          Mary Kay LaMaster   11         Kim Creech                 1
Mark Hemje             10         Chad Murrell             12         Jeanne Hastings          2
Jan Ham                   6          Kathy Nelson             13        Jeff Howard                  3
Alice Throckmorton  7          Chris Schukei            14         Scott Kummer              4
May Wierenga          8          Rogene Wenburg      15         Katherine Sachtleben  5

Parish Nurse Council
Erica Brooks               Pat Kern
Georgie Evans           Jerry Seiler
Rachel Florek             Sherry Welton


Personnel Board

Personnel Board meets at 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays (as needed) in the Kessler Room.
Personnel is the link between the congregation and the Session in providing appropriate paid staff for programs and ministries.  The committee determines job descriptions and annually evaluates all church employees.

Moderator: Kathy Duval
Secretary: Lynne Friedewald
Staff Reps: Pastor

Committee Members: Kathy Duval (2016)
                                   Lynne Friedewald (2017)
                                   Susan Oliver (2018)
                                   Tom Ratzlaff (2019)
                                   Tim Redline (2020)

Memorial Committee

The Memorial Committee meets four times a year.
This committee oversees memorial accounts and follows the family’s wishes.

Moderator: Mary Olsen
Trustee Rep: Kathy Utter
Session Rep: Kay Georgiana
Secretary: Katherine Sachtleben
Staff Reps: Pastor

Craig Balnicke
Wihlma Price
Katherine Sachtleben
Mary Olsen


Scholarship Committee

The Scholarship Committee meets at the call of the Moderator.
The Scholarship Committee is responsible for awarding the annual Ann L. Binfield Scholarship monies. The financial award may be used for tuition, room, board, school fees, books or other educational expenses. The following is the criteria used for awarding the scholarship:

-Be an outstanding student

-Have financial need

-Active member of First Presbyterian Church, Hastings

-Attend a Presbyterian college or university

Additional funds could come from other memorials and donations.

Beginning in January 2016, the Scholarship Committee will also be responsible for awarding the Chip Essex Memorial Scholarship. The following criteria will be used for awarding this scholarship:

-Be an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Hastings College

-Attend a 2 year or 4 year post-secondary school

 The Scholarship Committee is typically made up of nine members with one additional representative from Trustees and Session, respectively. 

Moderator: Traci Boeve
Staff Rep: Pastor 
Session Rep: Matt Fong
Trustee Rep: Constance Malloy

Brent Brooks
Jeanne Hastings
Deb Johnson

Foundation Board

The Foundation Board meets quarterly on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., or as called by the Moderator, in the Kessler Room.  
It is the duty of the Foundation to oversee the independent corporation for the purpose of receiving, managing, and investing any restricted or unrestricted gifts, devises, grants and bequests of real or personal property for the benefit of the church.

Moderator: Roger Doerr
Vice Moderator: Dave Dirks
Trustee Rep: John Harrington
Session Rep: Mary Olsen
Secretary: George Howard
Treasurer: Justin Wenburg
Board Members:  George Howard (2016)
                             John Northrop (2017)
                             Justin Wenburg (2018)
                             Roger Doerr (2019)
                             Dave Dirks (2020)
                             Nancy Langford (2021)

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee is responsible directly to the congregation.  It is composed of two Elders (one serves as moderator), one Deacon, and one Trustee.  The remaining five members are from the congregation at-large.  Their responsibilities include nominating members to the three elected boards: Session, Deacons, and Trustees.

Moderator: Al Meyer
Trustee Rep: Paula Crozier
Deacon Rep: 
Session Rep: 

At-Large Members:
            John Bohlke
            Martha Boyd
            Susan Hoff
            Ken Stein
            Danna Wolford

Ex-officio: Pastor 

Communication and Technology Committee

The Communication and Technology Committee meets via email and by call of the Chair.
The Committee provides technology based solutions to the church and enhances the quality and integrity of our communications to our congregation and community.

Chair: Erik Nielsen
Secretary: Patty Kingsley

Current Members: 
Dale Behrens                  Kraig Lofquist
Christian Fruehling          Erik Nielsen
Neil Kerr                         Roger Schukei
Patty Kingsley


Copyright 2015 – First Presbyterian Church-Hastings

Updated March 8, 2016