James D. Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Miller grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. He’s a graduate of Wheaton College (IL), and Princeton Seminary. In 1989, he received his Ph.D. in New Testament studies from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. His dissertation on the Pastoral Letters (I&II Timothy and Titus) was published by Cambridge University Press.
Following seminary, Jim served as an adjunct professor of Greek at Wheaton College for four years. He began his pastoral ministry in 1981, serving as an associate pastor at the Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. While living in Scotland, Jim served part-time at St. Michael’s Kirk (Presbyterian Church of Scotland) in Linlithgow.
In October of 1992, Jim was called to be the sixth Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa. He serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Tulsa, the largest Presbyterian-affiliated University in the country. He is also currently serving on the Board of Trustees at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.
Rev. Elaine H. Cervini, M.Div.
Associate Pastor for Mission & Outreach
A First Church pastor since 2000, Elaine Hedgecock Johnson is a native of Houston, TX, but has lived in Tulsa for most of her adult life. After about five years in hospital public relations, she stayed home to raise her children, Grant and Sally (Patterson), and to serve her church and community in various volunteer roles. A longtime member of First Church, she was Director of Evangelism at First Church prior to attending Phillips Seminary in Tulsa and receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Elaine’s call home to First Church after came as a welcome surprise.
Elaine works with the Mission Committee of Session, equipping members to reach into the world, both locally and globally, with gifts of mercy and compassion and with ministries that have the power to transform lives. She works with the Outreach and Growth Committee to equip members to witness to the power of Jesus in their own lives, to encourage them to invite friends and neighbors to come to church, to welcome new worshipers when they come, and to help them grow as followers of Jesus. Elaine also works with the women of the church, including Presbyterian Women, to provide annual retreats, women’s Bible studies and mission opportunities. And she works with the Communications Committee, finding creative ways to let members and neighbors know about First Church’s ministries.
Elaine enjoys sketching and painting, cooking and gardening, and going to the dog park with her dachshund-mix, Sunday.
Wambugu Gachungi, M.Div.
Tulsa International Fellowship
Born and raised in Kenya, Wambugu Gachungi came to the United States in 2001 to pursue a faith-based higher education, graduating from the University of the Ozarks in 2007 with a bachelor’s in philosophy, religion and sociology. He then moved to Tulsa where he attended Phillips Theological Seminary and obtained his masters of divinity in 2011.
Wambugu’s primary role at First Presbyterian is fostering the community of faith known as Tulsa International Fellowship or TIF. Wambugu leads worship, Bible studies, outreach, and offers pastoral counseling with disciples from over 12 nations. He has a passion for seeing the global church coming together regardless of where its members reside.
In his ministry, Wambugu is also very interested in the reformed tradition, and hopes to make it accessible to 21st century Christians as he continues to investigate what a true community of God might look like. He is also currently pursuing a doctorate in pastoral leadership and homiletics through Phillips Theological Seminary. Wambugu loves spending time with his wife and two children, and regular worship and devotion is some of their most cherished family time together, both in church and at home.
Daniel Hutchinson, M.Div.
Designated Pastor for Next Generation Ministries
Daniel is a graduate of Princeton Seminary with a Masters of Divinity in 2012 and from Wheaton College with a B.A. in History in 2007 and an M.A. in Theology in 2008. He is a native third-generation pastor, and in his free time, he loves playing ultimate Frisbee, hanging out with friends, drinking good coffee, spending time outdoors and playing music.
Among other responsibilities, Daniel spends much of his time with young adult, college and Next Generation ministries. His ministry is focused on fostering a church environment that “would see all ages as essential members of the body of Christ, capable of taking on responsibility, growing and leading within the church.” Daniel feels called to “make theology practical” and enjoys challenging disciples of all ages to think through the questions and implications of their faith. Above all, he values relationships and connects well with adults and students alike from all kinds of different backgrounds and stages in their faith journeys.
In mentoring young disciples, Daniel hopes to bring a fresh perspective and a dynamic leadership style to the table. “Leaders are also called to be listeners and learners. They should be willing to change as they learn the gifts of the people around them and the needs of the community in which they find themselves.”
"Each person is given something to do, that shows who God is. Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits." 1 Corinthians 12:8
Deacons extend the love and support of First Church to those in need, the sick and to any who may be in distress, within and beyond the community of faith.
Camp Sunshine: Host young oncology patients from an area hospital and their families for a day of fun, swimming, canoeing, and food at Camp Loughridge in August (97 in 2008).
Communion: Serve communion to homebound members four times a year (Lent, Pentecost, World Communion Sunday, and Advent) with Elders and pastors.
Christ in Action: Travel with other volunteers and First Responders to the homes of seniors, homebound and single parents to help with minor home repairs (change light bulbs, fix doors, plant flowers, clean gutters) during Day of Care in May and through the year.
Choir Brunch: Sponsor a breakfast break for the choir members, musicians, and pastors who participate in the four Easter Sunday worship services.
Flower Ministry: Deliver flowers from the worship service to First Church members in area hospitals and care facilities on Sunday afternoon. Lilies (Easter) and poinsettias (Christmas) are delivered to all homebound members.
Bereavement: Host receptions following memorial services and funerals. Assist in conducting an All Saints Day worship/memorial service for those who have experienced loss.
First Friends: Call on homebound members throughout the year (personal visitation, phone calls, and notes).
Thanksgiving: Sponsor a worship service and Thanksgiving dinner at Camp Loughridge designed for those who are alone or away from home.
Angel Project: Lead members of First Church and other volunteers to work with Alcott School and social service organizations to provide area families with food and other items at Christmas.
Hunger/Thirst: Participate with Day Center for the Homeless, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, and the H20 Project.
Bluegrass and BBQ: Sponsor an afternoon of great music and food at Camp Loughridge each spring for fellowship and outreach.
**If you are interested in additional information or would like to help on any activity, please contact any deacon or email Sara Studenmund (firstname.lastname@example.org).**
Ten new members are nominated and elected by the congregation each year to serve three-year terms.
|Class of 2013
||Class of 2014
||Class of 2015
||Mary Ann Marberry
As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament Church provided persons with particular gifts to share in governing and ministry.Elders are chosen by the people.Together with ministers of the Word and Sacrament, they exercise leadership, government, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a particular church as well as the church at large, including ecumenical relationships.
Elders should be persons of faith, dedication, and good judgment.Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel, both within the church and in the word.
It is the duty of elders, individually and jointly, to strengthen and nurture the faith and life of the congregation committed to their charge.Together with the pastor, they should encourage the people in the worship and service of God, equip and renew them for their tasks within the church and for their mission in the world, visit and comfort and care for the people, with special attention to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and those who are oppressed.
Recent Session Action:
|Class of 2013
||Class of 2014
||Class of 2015
|Andrew S. Allen
||Mary (Co) Edwards
||Mary Lee Ingram
||Roy Peters, Jr.
||Phil Rounds, Jr.
|Dr. Rieger Wood
Building: Bob Pielsticker*
Building and Grounds: Will Keith* (Chair), Andy Allen (Vice-Chair), Sally Hughes, and Scott Rowland
Communication: Stephanie Farris* (Chair), Cheryl Crane (Vice-Chair), Tamra Bird, Mary Lee Ingram, Lucky Lamons
Finance and Stewardship: Porter Shults* (Chair), Dr. Walt MacMillan, Anna Milligan, Patty Seibert, and Charlie Stephenson
Stewardship Subcommittee: Lucky Lamons, Doug Smith, and Kert Surface
Member Care: Patty Seibert (Chair), Kathleen Muller (Vice-Chair), Carol Rowland
Mission and Evangelism: Jean Lemmon (Chair), Phil Rounds (Vice-Chair), Bob Curtis, Elliot Forsyth, Mary Lee Ingram, David Kern, Kert Surface, and Dr. Rieger Wood
Next Generation Ministry: Andrew Jenkins (Chair), Jana Neal (Vice-Chair), and Carol Rowland
Nominating: Jennifer Rodehaver (Chair), Jan Lee (Vice-Chair)
Personnel: Jan Keene (Chair), Craig Hoster, Dr. Walt MacMillan, and Anna Milligan
Scholarship: Linda Greaves (Chair), Jan Lee, Jean Lemmon, and Dr. Rieger Wood
Session and the Larger Church: Robbie Burke (Chair) and Kert Surface (Vice-Chair)
Spiritual Growth & Discipleship: Ed Majors (Chair), Phil Rounds (Vice-Chair), Tamra Bird, and Kathleen Muller
Strategic Planning: Craig Hoster (Co-Chair), Charlie Stephenson (Co-Chair), Bob Curtis, Elliot Forsyth, and Scott Rowland
Worship & Music: (Robbie Burke (Chair), Sally Hughes (Vice-Chair), Andy Allen, Jennifer Rodehaver, and Doug Smith
Session Liaison/Interface with Other Groups
Women's Ministry Council: Cheryl Crane
Session Representatives to Camp Loughridge Board: Jennifer Rodehaver and Cheryl Crane
Tulsa International Fellowship Council: Linda Greaves
- Not Currently Serving on Session
Giving is Foundational
By Laurie Winslow
Every year the church invites us to recall our blessings and come forward on Commitment Sunday to make a financial pledge. This annual passage is one way we can show our appreciation to God and support the church.
But there is another way to leave a legacy.
The First Presbyterian Foundation, established in 1962, oversees five endowment funds that support the church’s various missions and activities, including worship, study, fellowship, service, and stewardship.
Al Bush, a longtime church member and trustee of the Foundation, sees his gift to the Foundation as an investment in the future. But, foremost, it’s a gift to Christ.
“I give to Christ. I’m really just a manager. I’m a holder of my goods, they’re not going to go with me. I’m a custodian of sorts, so I’m trying to make what I have grow,” Al says. “I’m recognizing the Creator. It’s not a debt; it’s my expression of love and wanting to be part of a bigger world.”
The church is extremely important to Al, who has served as elder, deacon, and trustee multiple times over the years. He first learned about First Presbyterian in 1957, shortly after moving here from Des Moines, Iowa. While playing handball one day at the Tulsa Club, Al met the Rev. Bryant Kirkland, who invited him to visit First Presbyterian. The rest is history.
Giving to the Foundation, for Al and others, is an important part of stewardship and necessary to ensure that future generations will be able to do God’s work. Not only does it give church members an opportunity to make a difference in their lifetime, but in the lifetimes of those to come.
The Foundation’s mission is to manage the funds and grow them so that interest off the fund can be used to do God’s work. In the last five years, the Foundation has given $1.2 million to church operations. Last year, it provided $20,000 in college scholarships to 30 church members. Currently, the Foundation has approximately $11 million, with a goal of reaching $30 million by 2010.
You can give to the Foundation one of several ways, including making a cash donation, listing the Foundation in your will, or naming it as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement account. You also can set up gift annuity plans and trusts.
“It’s easy. People have a tendency to think that trusts and the like are very complicated, but it really isn’t,” Jim says. He encourages people who are interested in learning more to get in touch with any of the Foundation’s trustees, who can help direct them and provide options.
Sometimes a chance comes along that enables a person to do one big thing for the church. For Al, that chance came back in 1994 when he sold a company, Crop Production Services Inc., and used some of the proceeds to set up a charitable remainder trust. Not only does it provide a tax benefit, but the church benefits hugely.
“I like to believe that it solidifies my commitment. I want to believe that God smiles at me a little bit,” Al says.
To learn more, call Steve Caldwell the church’s director of operations, at 584-4701, ext. 241.
|Class of 2013
||Class of 2014
||Class of 2015
|Robert S. Farris
||Robert (Cam) Campbell
|Edward F. Keller
||Judy Pollard Doyle
||William Royce Kelly