Rev. William J. McConnell, PhD, Pastor
Bill came to Fremont in January 2006, excited at the prospect of serving an historic, downtown church that's still spiritually alive, theologically sound, and committed to mission. One of the things he's most passionate about is helping people to grow in their faith and develop a closer relationship with Christ through preaching that's relevant, engaging, and biblically-based. Bill also offers pastoral care to people experiencing life crises and provides overall administrative leadership to the congregation.
Bill's basic values were shaped by the experience of growing up in a working class neighborhood of Philadelphia and in a strong Christian family. He went on to study at Dickinson College (B.A., Political Science), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., Systematic Theology), and the Graduate School of Drew University (Ph.D., Religion and Society). Before coming to Fremont, he taught religion courses in various New Jersey colleges, did extensive pulpit supply work, interned at the First Presbyterian Church in Roselle, NJ, and served as pastor of the Rural Valley and NuMine Presbyterian Churches in Western Pennsylvania. During his time in Western Pennsylvania, he met and married his wife, Stacey. They are the parents of 16-year old Abriana and 6-year old John.
Nikki Whetstone, Crib Room Coordinator
Nicki's professional life revolves around children and early childhood development. During the week, she's a pre-kindergarten teacher at the YMCA of Greater Toledo. She is also working on a degree in Early Childhood education at Bowling Green State University. On Sundays, Nicki teaches pre-schoolers during the Christian education hour and provides activities for children up to fifth grade during the worship service.
Roberta Patterson, Rainbow Station Director
A "kid at heart" is how a recent newspaper profile described Rainbow Station's "Miss Roberta." She has been the director and teacher of 4-5 year olds since the program was launched in August, 1996. Her degree in early childhood education is from Terra Community College.
Organist / Accompanist
As the accompanist for numerous local choral groups, Jane is someone whose musical talents are highly respected throughout our area. She's a member of the music faculty at Terra State Community College, where she teaches piano and serves as keyboard instrumentalist for different college musical ensembles. At First Presbyterian, she plays for the choir and provides keyboard accompaniment for other portions of the service. She studied piano at Bowling Green State University, from which she received two teaching degrees.
Lori Merritt brings a wealth of experience in music and worship leadership to her position as choir director, a post she has held since January, 2010.
After graduating from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Lori spent sixteen years serving Nazarene congregations in Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio as a choir director, children's pastor, and preschool administrator. During that time, she led everything from traditional choirs representing different age groups to contemporary praise bands. She has also directed both small and large-scale musical productions for churches and the community.
Paul Livingston, Organist Emeritus
Paul has been a member of First Presbyterian since he and his wife, Alice, moved here from Wooster in 1952. In the fall of 2009, he retired from a remarkable 43-year long tenure as the church's organist. During this time, he also assumed responsibility for coordinating the church's music ministry. Among other things, he was known for mentoring a steady stream of younger musicians, some of whom have gone on to play key leadership roles in the church as pastors and organists. As Music Coordinator Emeritus, Paul continues to fill in on the organ console as needed.
Connie Ponivas, Assistant
Connie's career as a professional church musician spans 56 years now and has included service in four different congregations as an organist and director of both children's and adult choirs. She and her family relocated to Fremont from Buffalo, New York in 1960. For the past 25 years she has served at First Presbyterian, where her primary role at the present time is to direct the bell choir.
First Presbyterian Church, 120 South Park Avenue,
Office Hours: M-T-W 8:30am-4:00pm
Copyright © 2012 First Presbyterian Church, Fremont, Ohio
This page was last updated: March 1, 2012
LeAnn Brown, Secretary / Office Manager
Should you call First Presbyterian during regular business hours, the friendly voice on the other end of the line will most likely be that of LeAnn. As secretary and office manager since 1997, LeAnn provides administrative support to church officers and staff, makes sure the office runs smoothly, and performs different finance-related tasks. Over the course of a more than thirty year career, she has served as an administrative professional in a variety of business and office settings.
In her dual role as Youth Leader,, Lori brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, plus a fun-loving spirit to AFTERSHOCK Youth-
a crew of dedicated young people seeking to "become stronger in their Faith, fellowship with friends and help others around the world. the world." Her musical capabilities offer guidance and direction to the Youth Worship Band which plays during Sunday services once a month.