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  • About Us
  • Being a Presbyterian
  • Mission, Vision & Core Value Statements
  • Leadership
  • Membership
  • Baptism
  • Pastors & Staff


First Presbyterian is an intentional community of faith whose members and friends are committed to being a beacon of hope and light downtown Boise. Our commitment is to be a vital part of the community and to be a faithful presence in the heart of Boise.


Presbyterian 101: A general guide to facts about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.

Calvin did much of his writing from Geneva, Switzerland. From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe and the British Isles. Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706. The first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The first Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence.

What is distinctive about Presbyterian Church?

Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.

A little Presbyterian history

Portions of the Presbyterian church in the United States have separated from the main body, and some parts have reunited, several times. The greatest division occurred in 1861 during the American Civil War. The two branches created by that division were reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently the largest Presbyterian group in this country.

Presbyterian theological beliefs

Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What they mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God's purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God's generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone's job - ministers and lay people alike - to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.

Our position on social issues

  • Affirms its conviction that neither the Church as the body of Christ, nor Christians as individuals, can be neutral or indifferent toward evil in the world;
  • Affirms its responsibility to speak on social and moral issues for the encouragement and instruction of the Church and its members, seeking earnestly both to know the mind of Christ and to speak always in humility and love;
  • Reminds the churches that their duty is not only to encourage and train their members in daily obedience to God's will, but corporately to reveal God's grace in places of suffering and need, to resist the forces that tyrannize, and to support the forces that restore the dignity of all men as the children of God, for only so is the gospel most fully proclaimed.

More information about being Presbyterian at Boise First can be found under the Exploring Membership tab on this page.

mission statementMISSION STATMENT (adopted July 18, 2011)

We are:

  • A welcoming faith community committed to worshipping God serving our neighbors and the world through Christ's transforming love.
VISION STATEMENT (adopted July 18, 2011)

We desire to:

  • Be an inviting and inclusive fellowship of adults, youth and children where worship is a joyful and spiritual expression of spoken word and music
  • Inspire personal commitment and faith development
  • Be aware of and sensitive to the spiritual and physical needs of our congregation; encouraging, caring for and supporting each other in all of life
  • Exhibit strong involvement in and support for local and global missions
  • Capitalize on our church's downtown, urban setting with a visible outreach program to the community
CORE VALUE STATEMENTS (adopted July 18, 2011)

We are committed to:

  • Celebrating God's Grace and mercy in our lives through commitment to shared worship, study and spiritual growth
  • Being inviting to all, while respecting the uniqueness of each individual
  • Compassionately caring for each other
  • Encouraging spiritual growth based on an understanding of the reformed faith of the Presbyterian Church, the Bible and its relevance and importance to issues of the day
  • Making a difference through the vital ministries that enrich the community and reach out to those in need
  • Generously sharing our gifts and talents
  • Engaging in mission that addresses the needs of the world
  • Faithfully serving as stewards of the earth
  • Organization
  • Elders
  • Deacons

Congregational Boards - In Presbyterian churches the authority for decisions are clearly laid out in Part ll of the constitution of the church, the Book of Order. Within this order congregations are granted the privilege and responsibility of calling women and men to service and electing them as elders, deacons or trustees. There are three boards of the church - the Session, the Deacons and the Trustees of the civil corporation a parallel structure required by Idaho law. In addition there are committees of the congregation that are elected by the congregation.

Session - The responsibilities of the Session are laid out in the Book of Order. Each Session organizes itself into Committees and Commissions. The Pastor serves as Moderator of the Session.

Committees - Committees study issues relevant to their charge and make recommendations to the board for decisions.

Deacons - The responsibilities of the Deacons are laid out in the Book of Order. More information about the responsibilities associated with being a Deacon, refer to the Deacon tab located at the top of this page. For more information about becoming a Deacon, contact the church office

Trustees - The Trustees are the legal representatives of the church and serve as the board of the civil corporation. The trustees are always concurrent members of the Session elected by the members of the congregation during a meeting of the corporation.

Congregational Committees - Every congregation has a nominating committee elected by the congregation. In addition we have an Ed Low Committee to handle the disbursement of mission dollars which are attached to an estate. We also have a Support and Endowment Committee whose function is to provide oversight for the endowment of the church. Congregations also elect, when necessary, search committees.


The Session of this congregation numbers 11 women and men who have accepted the call of the Holy Spirit as expressed through the voice of the congregation to serve a 3 year term sharing in the ministry and leadership of the congregation. Each year a new class is elected to a 3 year term. Session members may not serve more than 2 consecutive terms in order to insure that no particular personality comes to dominate the congregation or its witness. Our tradition relies upon broad support and involvement across the generations and differing personalities of the people who worship together each week. We hope you will feel free to visit with any member of the Session and help us welcome you.

Session Membership

Moderator: Andrew Kukla
Clerk of Session: Lindy High
Treasurer: Scott Muir

Class of 2014 - George Coburn, Joe Galey, Alan Anderson

Class of 2015 - John Brumbaugh, Brandon Wood, George Fleenor, Tom King

Class of 2016 - Judy Austin, Kaye Gilchrist, Marilyn Fordham, Mathew Eardley


Committee Membership

Corporate Officers - Kaye Gilchrist (Pres.), Judy Austin (Sec.)

Presbytery Commissioners - Mathew Eardley, Gerald Fleenor, Alan Anderson, Judy Austin (Alternate)

Mission Committee - Joe Galey (Chair), George Coburn,

Operations Committee - Marilyn Fordham (Chair), Gerald Fleenor, Mathew Eardley, Alan Anderson

Facilities Committee - Joe Galey (Chair), Kaye Gilchrist

Christian Education Committee - TOm King(Chair), John Brumbaugh

Worship Committee - Judy Austin (Chair), Marilyn Fordham, Kaye Gilchrist

Personnel Commission - Brandon Wood (Chair), Tom King, John Brumbaugh

Congregational Life Committee - Mathew Eardley (Chair), Judy Austin

Endowment Committee - Brandon Wood, George Coburn

FPC Nominating Committee - Gerald Fleenor (Chair), Alan Anderson, Cydney Shuibin (Deacon rep.)

Ed Low Endowment Fund Committee - Brandon Wood



The deacons of the congregation lead us in ministries of compassion and caring in a wide variety of programs. Our deacons insure that the Sacrament of Communion is available on the first Sunday of every month and provide home delivery of Holy Communion every month to those who are no longer able to worship with us on Sunday mornings.

The deacons deliver flowers every week to the ill and those who are hospitalized or grieving.

In addition the deacons provide for us in receptions for families experiencing the loss that death brings to all of us.

If you are aware of those who would welcome a visit from our deacons please let us know by responding to us via our Office Manager:

Our deacons, like our elders, serve rotating 3 year terms. Currently we're privileged to be served by:

Moderator: Cydney Shubin
Vice Moderator: Patti Deters
Secretary: Laura Wolstenholme
Treasurer: John Harenberg
Communion: Rhobly Swartley
Memoria Service Calls:Bettie Ferguson
Flowers: Kim Sudac
College Student Ministry: Barb Anderson, Sandra Sandford, Laura Wolstenholme
Youth Deacon:Jessica Fordham, Keola Dunn

Class of 2014- John Harenberg, Cydney Shubin, Rhoby Swartley, Betty Ferguson, Keola Dunn, Jessica Fordham

Class of 2015 - Barb Anderson, Sandra Sandford, Joyce Ruesink, Kim Sudac, Patti, Deters

Class of 2014 - Bob Ruesink, Tedd Foote, Ginny Foote, Laura Wolstenholme, Sally Ruch


Approach to Membership

At First Presbyterian Church, Boise, we believe that we all are part of the one body of Christ, God's Church. If you are worshipping with us for the first or second or the hundredth time you are welcomed as a member of this faith community. We are brought together through our common relationship with God, all of us blessed with gifts from God. All are invited and encouraged to share those gifts in the ministries and mission of the church. We are each unique with a singular responsibility to share what God has given us individually as we join together as a congregation to further God's mission in the world.

We have found that we are most faithful when there is a balance between giving and receiving, between serving and being served. As we travel along this faith journey together folks are invited to participate in a new membership class that is offered a number of times throughout the year. This class looks at the desire we can further that shared purpose through worship, fellowship and mission. Often this time together results in folks expressing a desire to stand before the congregation and express their desire to be received into formal membership in this congregation of God's church.

If you would like to know more about the membership class, contact the church office -


Sacrament of Baptism

In "A Brief Statement of Faith" from The Book of Confessions [Part of The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)] we confess our trust that "The same Sprit who inspired the apostles and the prophets rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church." John Calvin, a 16th century theologian of the Reformation, wrote, "We are not our own but the Lord's." Both of these statements become real for us as we celebrate the holy Sacrament of Baptism in the life of the congregation. Sacraments are part of the worship of the Church. We trust that they represent what God is doing in our lives. Baptism symbolizes the gift of God's unending grace as adults are baptized and welcomed into the Church or as the children of Church members are baptized as a sign that they are claimed and sealed as God's own forever. Our response to our baptisms is to live in gratitude to God, in repentance, faithfulness and discipleship.

To inquire about baptism please contact the church office - .


The Rev. Dr. Andrew Kukla - Pastor / Head of Staff -

Joanna Dunn

Andrew joined the staff of First Presbyterian Church and FPC community in September of 2012 along with his wife Caroline and four children. He was called to ministry here at FPC after serving for eight years as an Associate Pastor in Florida. He has an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in Philosophy, and Master's of Divinity ('03) and Doctor of Ministry ('12) degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Andrew has a passion for engaging in conversations about what it means to follow in the way of Jesus Christ, wrestling together as disciples, and realizing that most of our questions do not yield firm answers, but even more questions.

The Rev. Joanna Dunn - Associate Pastor -

Joanna Dunn

The Rev. Joanna Dunn earned her Master's of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond and her Master of Arts in Christian Education from The Presbyterian School of Christian Education in 1997. She has engaged in ministry throughout her life beginning in high school.

She was called to First Presbyterian Church in Boise in 2004 after serving a large church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. She is the Minister of Christian Formation, guiding and leading the congregation and community in ministry opportunities that nurture the young and the young at heart.

She is active in the Presbytery, Synod and National Church serving as a commissioner, member of special task forces, youth ministry advocate and other capacities. She volunteers in the Boise community including through her children's schools, St Luke's Women's Celebration and St. Al's Children's Classic.

Garth Olson - Director of Worship Arts -

Garth Olsen

Garth serves as the Director of Worship arts at First Presbyterian Church and participates on the Worship and Communications Committees. Garth obtained his Bachelor of Science at University of Wisconsin-River Falls: Broad Area Music with an emphasis in Piano & Composition and Broad Area Business with an emphasis in Finance. Also, he received his Certification in Worship Leadership Studies at St. Stephen's University – New Brunswick. For 17 years, Garth worked as an Office Administrator and Executive Director for law firms overseeing management, human resources, operations, finance, and information services. In March 2011, he stepped down from working in the legal arena to pursue music full-time and more fully nurture and grow the gifts and talents given to him. He has twenty-five years of worship experience, nine years were as Director of Worship. For those nine years, he has served as a Director of Music and Worship Leader for various denominations in a variety of worship styles, and directed choirs, praise bands, and orchestras.

Hopes: Having God-centered worship services that celebrate what has, what is, and yet to come for God's Kingdom through various worship arts.

His favorite things are: (in no particular order) FPC, Java House, Alia's Coffeehouse, 13th Street Pub & Grill, hiking in the Sawtooths and Cascades, serving on the Seattle Composers Alliance, arranging music, cooking, playing/listening to jazz fusion, and teaching piano.

Melody Wheeler - Organist

Duncan Filson

Melody Wheeler was born and raised in New England. She attended Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts and graduated with a double major in elementary education and home economics and a minor in secretarial science. Following graduation, she moved to New Jersey and taught in a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) school for five years. It was there that she met her future husband, Doug, an elementary school band teacher. She then taught public school for one year followed by 33 years teaching in the New Jersey State Prison for women. After retiring in 2009, she moved to Meridian, Idaho where her sister lives. She has a 29 year-old son living in Pennsylvania. Over the years, she has played organ in several different churches of various denominations (Methodist, Baptist, Reformed, and SDA) as well as being an accompanist for choirs. She and Doug enjoy biking, traveling and gardening. They are acclimating to Idaho and are happy to be making new friends.

Duncan Filson - Office Manager -

Duncan Filson

Duncan Filson, Office Manager, began working at First Presbyterian Church in April of 2008. He has a Bachelors degree in elementary education which he used to help found Boise's first charter school, "Anser", in 1999. He continued on as a multi-age classroom teacher for another two years before starting his own business. He believes his varied job history (including time spent as a mime, a garbage collector and 10 years in various facets of film production) has, almost, adequately prepared him for his current position in the church office.

Duncan lives within walking distance of the church, with his wife and two boys. His time away from work is spent running around with his family, enjoying the outdoors and making music. He is currently part of Limehouse, a band that focuses on swing-style music and can occasionally be heard playing at local nightclubs.

Kathy Bilderback - Bookkeeping -

Kathy Bilderback

Kathy began as part time bookkeeper in August 2007. While she enjoys attending to the detailed financial aspects of the church, she finds it a privilege to build relationships and be part of the team here at the church. She attempts to share the skills she has acquired over the years from administrative office work, financial analysis with non-profits and volunteering heavily in the church.

Outside of this job, she services a few local small businesses with bookkeeping skills, sharing parenting with her wonderfully patient husband while raising two teenage sons with bright red hair and fiery personalities. She also serves on the pastoral care team at a Mennonite church. She holds a masters degree in Church Ministry and is an ordained minister in the Mennonite church.

Mike Sanders - Facilities Manager -

Mike Sanders

Mike studied at Pepperdine University, University of Heidelberg, Pacific Lutheran University and the Claremont Graduate School. He served a number of years in ministry. A self-taught "handy-man", he finds it a privilege to serve this great faith community.

Spence Stout - Assistant Facilities Manager

Bio coming Soon

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