Rev. Fran Shelton Joins the FPC Pastoral Team

Rev. Fran Shelton Joins FPC Pastoral Team

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The Session recently approved contracting with Fran Tilton Shelton, DMin, to serve as part-time parish associate. Fran has participated in worship, Sunday School and PW Circle 11 since 2012 when she moved from serving for 10 years as an associate pastor for congregational care to serving as a spiritual director and founder of the non-profit, Faith & Grief Ministries.  After caring for her husband, Bob (who served FPC in several interim capacities), until his death in March, 2018, she wrote a soon-to-be-released book, No Winter Lasts Forever  A Memoir of Loving Bob and Loathing Alzheimer’s. 

When asked about beginning November 1, she responded, “This is an exciting way to celebrate my older daughter’s 40th birthday! I’m humbled and thrilled to be part of the FPC team of servant leaders and I will try to remember to wear my name badge.” 

FPC Dallas Hires Laura Westerlage as Pastoral Intern

First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is excited to share the news that Laura Westerlage, who some of you know as the Director of Client Services at The Stewpot, has begun serving our congregation as a Pastoral Intern! You can read more about Laura’s journey below. This is a part-time position, about 10 hours per week, which will be in addition to Laura’s work at The Stewpot.

Amos and Rebecca are excited to welcome Laura to the team and are grateful for the gifts she will be sharing with our congregation and staff. As a Pastoral Intern, Laura will explore and/or support adult education, pastoral care, worship, and administration. You will see her leading worship beginning on June 16, and you are encouraged to welcome her to this ministry!


A Note from Laura

I’m Laura Westerlage and I have a lifelong love of the church. I am a Presbyterian and also a P.K. (preacher's kid). My love for the church, God and people led me to Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary after I graduated from Austin College. I also enrolled at UT School of Social Work and in 2013 graduated with my Master of Social Work and Master of Divinity. Since graduation, I served as a counselor at SafePlace in Austin, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I then moved to Dallas in 2016 to start my dream job at The Stewpot and I am now the Director of Client Services. I have some history here at FPC. My grandparents were married in the chapel and I came here as a summer visiting youth, which started my love for The Stewpot.

In my free time I enjoy boxing, teaching indoor cycling classes, venturing to the mountains in Utah, spending time with my friends and family, and playing music.

I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to serve this congregation as a pastoral intern and to learn from Rebecca, Amos and the rest of the talented staff.

Staff Announcement: Camilla Ballard

I write to share news that our Director of Youth Ministries, Camilla Ballard, will retire this fall after 23 years of service with us. A letter from her to you appears below this one. Please scroll down and read it.
Planning has already commenced on how we will say goodbye and thank you with the same fervor of spirit Camilla has brought to moments like this for others. There will be parties and gifts. Let us know if you’d like to help. Separately, I’ve asked our Associate Pastor, Rebecca Chancellor Sicks, to begin coordinating the search for our next Director of Youth Ministries. Our goal is to make the transition of leadership this fall as seamless as possible. 
I’ve only been with you for a couple of months. Still, it did not take long for me to conclude that our youth ministry is an honest reflection of its leader. I found this to be true again just four days ago at our annual Senior Sunday celebration. 275 students spread over Camilla’s 23 years have passed through this distinctly local ritual of being celebrated, close to their graduation from high school, with all the imagination and drama a former theater teacher can squeeze out of Byrd Hall. If that was you, you knew you were loved, noticed and treasured by Camilla, your church and God.
Amos Disasa

A Message from Camilla


Dear FPC Youths and Those Who Love Them,

For 23 years, that thing you do has continued to change me for good.  I have been enchanted by the hero within each of you and those superhero adults working with you. You have courageously followed your hearts and your dreams. And because of that, I have witnessed the Spirit generously bless your work as peacemakers, environmentalists and humanitarians. As such, you have given me hope for the future. 
I promise you I will always remember Mo-Ranch, Montreat, drama teams, mission projects, COFFEE HOUSE, COFFEE CUP,  coffee dates, Confirmation Overnights, Youth Sundays, Youth Committee, Senior Sundays, Service Corps Celebrations, Youth Sorting Ceremonies, CMW, NYC after 9/11, Home Groups and all our movies, movies, movies together. In turn, I have faith you will remember that the oldest magic of all is love.
On September 15, I am closing my door and turning in my keys. My family and I have loved being part of your lives.

With God, anything is possible,
Camilla Ballard

FPC Dallas Welcomes Gerry Tyer

First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is excited to welcome Gerry Tyer as its new interim associate executive pastor. He will assist the church in administrative matters including oversite of the finances, facilities, personnel, technology services, The Stewpot, Encore Park and the Developmental Day School. He will serve the church while the pastor and Session make key decisions about future staffing.


Gerry is a retired Presbyterian minister. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia (philosophy), a Master of Divinity (Biblical studies), a Master of Theology (counseling) from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry (worship and administration) from Boston University. He was the pastor of churches in West Collingswood (New Jersey), St. Paul (Minnesota) and Columbus (Ohio). For twenty years he served as the executive presbyter for the Presbytery of Tampa Bay (Florida), a regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church. He is the author of Seven Keys to an Effective Presbytery. He is currently writing a book tentatively titled Leading a Church in a Rapidly Changing World. Since 2013 he has been the stated clerk (chief administrative officer) of Grace Presbytery.

Gerry’s hobbies include golf and road trips exploring the southwest United States. He is married to Maxine Tyer, a retired mathematics teacher. They make their home in Irving, Texas.

Join Rev. Amos Disasa at Presbytery

The Reverend Amos Disasa will be introduced at the Stated Meeting of Grace Presbytery on Saturday, February 23, 2019, at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. During the Committee on Ministry Report, members of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas congregation are invited to stand with our new minister when he is presented at the Presbytery meeting.

The report begins at 2:15 p.m., with the “Welcome to New Teaching Elders” occurring at some point in the report. A bio and Statement of Faith for each new pastor is included in the Commissioners’ packets, and each minister will have an opportunity to speak briefly. After Amos’ presentation, church members will have a photo-op, either at the front of the sanctuary or in an outside space. Members can then leave or stay as they choose.

Registration is not required. Ambassadors in red aprons will be stationed around the Preston Hollow PC campus as guides. Because the parking lot is large, seasoned Holy Rollers will offer golf cart rides from the parking lots to the Jubilee Courtyard entrance to the Atrium. A map of the Preston Hollow PC campus can be found at the following URL:

Preston Hollow PC is located at 9800 Preston Road (Dallas). Please join other members of our church family at this Presbytery meeting to stand with Amos as he is presented to Grace Presbytery. For additional information, please contact Beth Hernandez, church receptionist, at (214) 748-8051.

Dallas Choir Selected as Semi-Finalist for The American Prize

On Monday, February 11, First Presbyterian Church of Dallas’ Chancel Choir was announced as a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Choral Performance for 2018-2019.

The Chancel Choir, directed by Joshua Taylor, provides the primary musical leadership for worship at First Presbyterian Church. This volunteer adult group, with varying musical backgrounds, presents a wide variety of repertoire from standard church music, spirituals and gospel, to music by new composers.

“It is such an awesome gift to stand in front of this choir each week and I'm so humbled that we're included [as semi-finalist]” said Taylor.

The American Prize is a national nonprofit competition in the performing arts and is the nation's most comprehensive series of contests in the classical arts. The organization, unique in scope and structure, is designed to evaluate, recognize and reward the best performers, ensembles and composers in the United States..

The prize has attracted hundreds of qualified contestants from all fifty states since its founding, has awarded more than $60,000 in prizes in all categories since 2010, and is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts.

The final award will be announced later this year.

FPC Dallas Awarded Preservation Honor for Sanctuary

Preservation Texas has announced nineteen restoration, rehabilitation and preservation planning projects that will be recognized at its 2019 Honor Awards Ceremony and Reception in Austin, Texas on February 27th.  The 2019 Honor Awards, the FPC Dallas Sanctuary being one of them, are selected by a jury of preservationists and recognize successful efforts to save irreplaceable and authentic historic places in Texas. 


“The 2019 Honor Award winners set a high standard toward which we can all aspire,” said Preservation Texas President Ann Benson McGlone of San Antonio. “These preservation projects required vision and determination. We look forward to putting the spotlight on these outstanding efforts.”

First Presbyterian Church’s Sanctuary was built in 1914 and it’s renovation, which restored the space to its original state, was completed in January of 2018. “'We were so fortunate to work with David and Anne Stimmel and all of the amazing team at Architexas - Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, Inc. and Andrew and the team from Byrne Construction Services,” said Josh Taylor, FPC’s director of worship and music. “I'm glad so many folks have recognized the care and love that went into this project.“

Click here for event details and a full list of selected projects.

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