Staff

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!

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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

Friends,
 
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.
 
Peace,
Amos Disasa
Pastor


A Message from Camilla

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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.

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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.