Dear First Pres Family,

In May, we began detailing more about the new staffing structure by ministry area as teams are coming together and beginning their work. Since then, individual ministries have presented their hopes and ideas for the way forward: Mark Stryker for Community Care Tom Elson for Missional Engagement, Michelle Vecchio-Lyzenga for Christian Formation, and Li-Wen Monk for Worship. Today, to conclude these updates, I’d like to share about the First Pres Operations team.

The Operations Team at First Pres exists to facilitate and support our campus and ministries. We want operations to function effortlessly like an elevator: you push a button, the door opens and you go where you want to go—with confidence that all is working and without knowing about the moving parts that make a heavy metal box go up and down. As we strive to be seamless in this way, we are working harder than ever to increase operational efficiency in our service role for the church.

The Vision

It is my great pleasure to work with a dedicated team whose ministry and work is to support fellow staff, ministries, and the church at large. Plus, we get to work with incredible elders and lay leaders who serve on the Personnel, Stewardship, and Facilities committees, and the Coronavirus Task Force. The Operations Team provides critical infrastructure for our church staff and congregation, Cornerstone Children’s Center, and Berkeley Christian Counselors. Our behind-the-scenes work includes management of our facilities, finances, human resources (HR), and office administration.

In the new staffing plan, we have greater capacity to better utilize our facilities and improve integration and back-up across operations functions. We are committed to increasing the use of online systems for facilities, finances, and HR—specifically to reduce manual paper-based admin work.

Facilities Management and Use

Facilities Director Ralph Anderson manages building and landscape maintenance; facility use, parking, and associated income; equipment; and information technology. Ralph will be supported primarily by a Hospitality Coordinator (to be hired) whose role will be to increase room rental income, welcome people at the front desk, and assist him for maintenance. We’ll be set up to maximize facility use for our ministries and the community, which will increase revenue to the church. In addition we are continuing to improve IT for the livestream and are transitioning to a new IT provider to improve and stabilize our computer network.

Finances in the Business Office

Finance Coordinator Kristen Engle has oversight of all bookkeeping functions for First Pres. In December 2020, Kristen led the transition to online church management system, ShelbyNext, allowing us to consolidate systems. We’re working to further automate financial and other processes for staff and we expect to roll out some ShelbyNext functionality for congregants—prioritizing online statements and working toward eventually having an online directory.

Executive and Human Resources

Executive and HR Coordinator Sharon Gowdy has human resources responsibilities in addition to lending support to Senior Pastor Charlene and me. We will soon select an online HR platform to automate processes from onboarding to time-off approvals and more. Sharon will also regularly meet with staff coordinators to help manage workloads across ministry departments.

Coordinating Operations

Operations Coordinator Shannon Price-Bustos joined First Pres in June in a role that crosses all of operations. She will support ops functions including IT; back-up for some business office functions; assist staff for ShelbyNext use; and handle general office administration.


We also want to thank those who made valuable contributions and concluded their roles earlier this year:

  • As Hospitality Director, Peter Callis cared for this community for more than five years by providing lunches on Sundays as well as catering for ministries and room renters. Moving forward, we are excited to partner with Peter and his wife, Nicole, and their new venture, The Table Catering to coordinate our Saturday Street Meal and to provide additional catering for the church and facilities renters.

  • Sophie Aust, Receptionist & Office Assistant concluded her service at the end of May after nearly three years. Sophie warmly welcomed visitors and members alike. She also provided care and support to staff, congregants, and community guests from the front desk. We are so thankful for her generous spirit and heart.

Our Commitment

The Operations Team is committed to doing whatever it takes to support the mission of the church. We are excited by the upcoming ministry and operational challenges for reopening, adopting new online systems, improving our IT, increasing facilities use and income, and more. We aim to serve generously as a strong infrastructure for staff, ministries, congregants, and the community. We welcome your prayers of support.

In Christ,

Sue Burger
Executive Director for Operations