Our Vision: To be a church fully Engaged in Reaching Up, Reaching In, and Reaching Out.
Rev. Michael Bodger
Pastor and Teaching Elder
Pastor Michael Bodger was born in Liverpool, England and moved to Uganda with his family when he was just 6 months old. He returned to England to attend boarding school, and his family returned in 1972 when Idi Amin came to power in Uganda. Pastor Michael attended Huddersfield University in Yorkshire, England, and graduated with a Marketing (Engineering ) degree. He then entered into the aerospace industry from college which eventually brought him to the USA. Pastor Bodger was raised Roman Catholic, left the church in his late teens and began worshipping at a Methodist church when he met his wife-to-be, Elaine. In 1998 he began attending a Presbyterian Church and became a Stephen Minister and then Stephen Leader in 1999. He heard the call into ministry in 2003 and finally went to seminary in 2005 after working for 20 years in the aerospace industry. Michael attended Columbia Theological Seminary, graduating in 2009. He married his wife Elaine in 1993 and they have four boys, Nathan (23) John Noah (16), and Peter (14). Their son Matthew Noel died during labor on Christmas Day 2001. Even though his feet never touched this earth, he remains an important part of the family. Pastor Bodger says that there are so many broken and hurting people behind closed doors in our communities that need not be alone. God is alive and well and at work everywhere. Our challenge is to remember who we are, children of the most High God, join in where God is already at work and let others know of God’s peace and presence that comes through Jesus Christ. To proclaim the gospel at all times and if necessary use words. Peace to one and all.
Alice Foerster has been a member of First Pres since 2009. She is currently the elder of care & concern, moderator of the deacons, a Stephen Ministry leader, a member of the youth discipleship team, and the coordinator of the Meals Matter Ministry. I’ve been a member of Renew small group for six years, and I co-founded the Lydia PW Circle. Alice realized at a very young age that she had a passion for helping others. She earned a BS in social work from Mercer University, then an MS in marriage and family therapy from Stetson University. Her professional experience has included serving as a congregational care coordinator at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, a service coordinator at Hugh Ash Manor and, most recently, a social worker for John Knox Village. She lives with her husband of twenty-one years, Sam, her three teenage boys (Will, Isaac and George), her husky dog Max, and cats. In her free time, you can find her walking Max all over town, cooking, lost in a good book, or at a coffee shop.
Director of Family Ministries
Elendea is a Florida native and was born and raised in Ormond Beach, FL. She was baptized as an infant at First Pres and attended Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church from a young age and was an active member until she moved to DeLand in 2016. Before accepting her current position at the church, Elendea was visual art teacher at Ormond Beach Middle School for four years. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Rollins College and is currently attending Stetson University for a dual masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. She lives with her husband Joe, her step daughter Ella, their Great Dane Dax, two ferrets, and various reptiles and tarantulas (she loves animals). In her free time Elendea loves to attend concerts and music festivals with her husband, watch movies, listen to music, and spend time in nature.
Contemporary Worship Leader
Born and raised in DeLand, Joe began studying music at a young age, taking his first piano lessons at 6 years old. In years to follow, Joe studied numerous musical disciplines privately at Stetson University through the community school of music, which included trombone, organ (with Dr. Boyd Jones), and music composition. He also spent many years as a member of the Stetson Children’s choir under Dr. Ann Small where he had the opportunity to perform in Scotland. He is self-taught on the guitar, bass guitar, drums, and has performed on these instruments in several bands over the years. Joe is also versed in music production and recording, having worked with and produced for various artists across multiple musical genres. He has obtained his Associate of Arts degree from Seminole State College, and is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. In addition to his work for the church, Joe is a Senior Business Systems Analyst at Chase Bank.
Mary Jane Christeson
Mezzo soprano, Professor and Church Choir Director
Jane Christeson received a Piano Performance degree from the University of Alabama before receiving a Graduate Council Fellowship to complete an MM in Vocal Performance with Edward White as her principal teacher. Since then she has had a varied career in opera, music theater, oratorio and recital work, performing over 40 roles with companies and orchestras around the United States. Twice a winner of the District Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, she has appeared with Opera Grand Rapids, Cincinnati Opera, Whitewater Opera and Palm Beach Opera, and has performed as soloist with the Alabama Symphony, Pomereggio Musicale, and many other orchestras. She has been heard on National Public Radio with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Cincinnati Opera, and appeared locally with Seaside Music Theater and Orlando Opera in both mainstage productions and educational tours. Ms. Christeson has done additional vocal study in Freiburg, Germany with Professor Horst Günter, in London with Maestro James Lockhart, and in New York with David Jones, and also received a Graduate Performance Certificate from the University of South Florida with Annetta Monroe. Ms. Christeson has performed as soloist with combined choruses from Brevard County in a tour of the Scandinavian countries and has frequently been a featured soloist in oratorio with other ensembles in the central Florida area. She has released a recording of art songs and duets by Johannes Brahms, and also is heard in recordings of Janaček's "The Diary of One Who Vanished" and as mezzo soloist in the Duruflé "Requiem", both available through Clear Note Studios. She has been a featured soloist in Caen, France in the Duruflé "Requiem" as well, performing in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. During a recent sabbatical, Ms. Christeson traveled to Venezuela to collect previously unpublished songs by composers Inocente Carreño, and has since recorded and performed many of those pieces, which are also published in a two-volume set by Clear Note Publications. She had a professional church music position as either soloist, pianist or conductor since 1975 [with only a two-year break from 1988-1990]. A full professor at Stetson University, Ms. Christeson maintains a voice studio and teaches courses in Song and Opera Literature. She is also the Director of Music at First Presbyterian DeLand, where she has conducted the Vivaldi Gloria and the Fauré Requiem and also leads the Adult Handbell Choir.
Dr. Boyd Jones
In addition to being the Organist for First Presbyterian Church (since 2009), Boyd serves as University Organist and John E. and Aliese Price Professor of Organ at Stetson University (since 1998). He performs extensively throughout the United States and abroad on both organ and harpsichord. Recent seasons have included recitals in Germany, Bulgaria and Japan, along with performances for two regional conventions of The American Guild of Organists, the national convention of the Organ Historical Society, a conclave of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society and the national convention of the Music Teachers National Association. The author of articles for numerous publications, Boyd was the American correspondent for the English Journal, Choir and Organ, providing articles on American organ builders in each issue for three years. He has also served as consultant for several significant organ projects in churches and schools in the US. Boyd holds degrees from Stetson University (BM), where his organ teacher was Paul Jenkins, and from Yale University (MM, MMA, and DMA), where he studied organ with Charles Krigbaum and harpsichord with Richard Rephann, and served as Assistant University Organist and Graduate Teaching Assistant. He has also studied with Harald Vogel at the North German Organ Academy and with Robert Noehren. Boyd has won both national and international organ performance competitions. He has recorded for Arkay Records, Clear Note Records, and Navona Records, and is represented by WindWerk Artists.
Tom was born in Marianna, Florida and graduated from DeLand High School in 1964 and then Stetson University 1969. He served 3 years active duty in the US Army – mostly overseas in Seoul, Korea. After discharge from the Army, Tom married his college sweetheart, Miss Joan Timlin. Joan was born in Orlando, Florida and their son David, was born in DeLand – so they are a true Florida native family. Tom and Joan retired from local employers – Joan from the local hospital on Plymouth Avenue after 33 years as pediatric head nurse, and Tom as Plant Controller from Sherwood Medical (a DeLand hypodermic needle manufacturer) after 30 years. After two years of true retirement Tom came to First Presbyterian in August 2001 to fill a part-time bookkeeping vacancy and fell in love with the congregation – a love that continues to this day.
Barbara Jo Hughes Business Manager was baptized as an infant and raised in the Presbyterian Church in Bowie, Maryland, She moved to Cape Coral, Florida with her family in 1971. In 1982 she came to Orlando to complete her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. while working in various business positions (retail management, banking and office management), earning a B.S. Degree in Psychology from UCF in 1986. She continued doing office management work for an Orlando CPA firm and then became the Controller for a Hearing Aid Manufacturer in the 1980's and went on to become involved in the Bank Equipment business through 2010. She first joined First Presbyterian Church DeLand in 2000 with her mother and brother before moving to Chuluota, FL. She returned to First Pres at the end of 2010 and was hired as the office manager at the First Presbyterian School in November 2011. In December 2013, she accepted a position in the church office. She serves on our School Board and is the liaison to the Property Team. It is with great peace and joy that she found a loving and caring work-home. She believes in the vision: that we are a church fully engaged in Reaching Up, Reaching In and Reaching Out!
Laura has been married to her husband Dean for 42 years. They have 3 wonderful children and two grandchildren. Laura has been in the field of early childhood education for more than 25 years. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Daytona State College, graduating with high honors, while holding down a full time job in the childcare field. In those years, she worked as a Director and Teacher, both with typically developing and special needs children. Also, working as a monitor for a local agency allowed her the opportunity to be a mentor to staff and facilities; providing help to individuals as well as workshops to the staff, which enhanced their skills with children. She currently holds all the necessary required courses from the Department of Children and Families, in addition to the advanced level Director Credential Level, VPK Endorsed, Trauma Endorsed, to qualify her as the Director of the First Presbyterian School where she has been employed for 13 years. As a member of the Child Development Associates (CDA) board (through Daytona State College), she enjoys having a small part in ensuring our children’s future.