Who We Are

First Presbyterian in South Saint Paul is a family of faith, always learning. We believe questioning is part of growing in faith. We strive to actively follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe our faith should not simply be talked about, but lived out through action. We welcome all people, just as they are.

Our Vision Statement

We strive to be a vibrant Christian community that is loving, nurturing, open, sustainable and renewing, and one that inspires people of all ages to live in the Christian faith and serve the world.

Our Mission and Purpose

One of the guiding principles is our statement of inclusiveness. All people are created in God’s image, and each child of God is unique and wonderful. We celebrate the universal truth proclaimed in Galatians 3:26 and 28, “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave of free, there is no longer male or female: for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

As members of First Presbyterian of South St. Paul, we strive to love one another as God loves us. Knowing that we are all one in Christ, we embrace all who share with us a common faith in God and welcome them into the life and full leadership of our congregation. We do so regardless of a person’s race, ethnic origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, economic condition, cultural or religious background, or any particular element of his or her total humanity.

We welcome and encourage all persons to share in community life, worship and sacraments, including offices and ministry of the church. In response to the call to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), we pledge our congregation to oppose by word and action injustices toward all persons, as we would oppose injustices toward ourselves.

Our Statement of Inclusiveness
All people are created in God’s image, and each child of God is unique and wonderful. We celebrate the universal truth proclaimed in Galatians 3:26 and 28, “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave of free, there is no longer male or female: for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

As members of First Presbyterian of South St. Paul, we strive to love one another as God loves us. Knowing that we are all one in Christ, we embrace all who share with us a common faith in God and welcome them into the life and full leadership of our congregation. We do so regardless of a person’s race, ethnic origin, age, gender, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, economic condition, cultural or religious background, or any particular element of his, her, or their total humanity.

We welcome and encourage all persons to share in community life, worship and sacraments, including offices and ministry of the church. In response to the call to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), we pledge our congregation to oppose by word and action injustices toward all persons, as we would oppose injustices toward ourselves.

Updated 10/22/2020 by the Session

Elected Leadership

The U.S. government was patterned after the organizing principals of the Presbyterian Church. Leadership is elected at all levels, from international bodies to the local church.

Each congregation elects a group of members, Elders, to form a decision-making body, the Session. The ordained staff is chosen by the congregation and report to the Session.

Another group of members are elected as the Deacons. Their responsibility is the care of the congregation. The Session forms committees from the congregation to perform the work of the church. Personnel, Finance, Property, Worship, Education, Social Justice, etc.

All members are encouraged to join in these groups to support and participate in the life of the church.

Our Staff & Leadership

Like all Presbyterian Churches, the business of our church, is managed by elected and ordained officers of the congregation. Deacons (the ‘heart’ of our church) lead the caring and nurturing areas of our ministry while the Elders (the ‘head’ of our church) serve on the Session to provide leadership in all aspects of church management.

Pastor Tom Watson

Tom Watson

Tom Watson has been a pastor here at FPCSSP off and on for 18 years serving us with a variety of different titles. Since 2007, he has been one-half of a Co-Pastorate and in 2020 he became our one and only pastor.

He began his college career at the University of Northwestern in Evanston, IL, as a Film Studies major. He wanted to write and direct his own movies, but settles now for just watching them. Tom graduated from the University of Minnesota with an English Literature degree then moved on to seminary at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is a voracious reader and still loves poetry.

Tom lives in the north end of St. Paul with his wife of over 30 years, Lisa. Lisa is also an ordained Presbyterian minister, currently serving as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. They have two adult children (Emily and Ben), son-in-law (Jeff) and three grandchildren.

Contact Tom at [email protected] or call 651-451-6223.

Eleta Pierce

Eleta Pierce

Eleta Pierce, Church Administrator, is the friendly voice you hear when you call and the friendly face you see when you come into the office. She has been serving Presbyterian churches since 2006, FPC-SSP since 2012, and is a member of Edgcumbe Presbyterian Church. She views her role in the church as her calling, and enjoys being part of God’s ministry by serving others. Eleta is a life-long resident of the West Side of St. Paul where she resides with her three children, Chris, Ollie and Zack.

Contact Eleta at [email protected] or call 651-451-6223.

Linda Kachelmeier

Linda Kachelmeier

Linda Kachelmeier, Director of Music, believes music plays an integral part in worship with its ability to help us pray, heal, and praise God. She plans music for worship, directs our vocal and bell choirs, teaches our children, leads our ensembles, encourages our soloists, secures special guests, and writes new music. A composer and performer of sacred and secular music, Linda sang with the former a capella ensemble Dare to Breathe, and was a founding and long-time member of the award-winning Rose Ensemble. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a degree in Choral Music Education. Linda lives in St. Paul with her husband Mike.

Contact Linda at [email protected] or call 651-451-6223.

Cal Ross, Youth Coordinator at FPC-SSP

Cal Ross

Cal Ross has been a member of FPC-SSP since 2011 and Youth Coordinator since 2019. Cal spends their non-working hours playing video games, painting, playing fetch with their lab/pitbull rescue Dutchess, watching Star Wars, and rocking out to Queen. Cal is also an avid public speaker, teaching organizations (primarily churches) how to be accepting and inclusive of their LGBTQIA+ neighbors. Travel is another favorite activity and Cal has a very long wish list of places to visit someday.

You can contact Cal by calling 651-451-6223.

Affiliated Religious Organizations

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul

Presbyterian Church
Our Mission

More Light Presbyterians

Presbytery of the Twin Cities

Covenant Network of Presbyterians

First Presbyterian of South St. Paul has been serving our community for over 100 years. Our doors are open to all who seek comfort or who seek to make a difference. This is a great place to start.

 

Our History

On December 13, 1893, 20 dedicated people gathered to worship in South St. Paul. That small group grew to a congregation and was incorporated as First Presbyterian Church in 1896. In September of that year, our first church building, at the corner of Fifth and Marie in South St. Paul, was dedicated.

In 1956, the congregation decided to build a new church. The following year the property at Fifth and Marie was sold and a new church location, at 20th and Wentworth Avenues, was dedicated. Our church building on this site was dedicated in February 1959. In 1993, to celebrate our100th birthday, we dedicated an addition which included new office space, the Commons, a large meeting room, a choir room, and a Youth Room.

In 2009, the church celebrated 50 years in the “new” church. All enjoyed the excitement of recognizing the members of founding families who were still part of the church as well as rejoicing with the many who have become part of our family in more recent history.

During our generations of ministry in South St. Paul, we have been committed to providing education for children and youth; financial support for overseas and local mission projects; continuing Christian education for people of all ages; a high-quality music program; and opportunities for women, men, youth and young adults, couples and older adults to participate in fun and educational events.

A photo gallery of the ministers who have served our church since 1893 is displayed in the Commons along with several of the original stained glass windows from the original church building.

Here to Help

Call the church office at 651-451-6223 with any questions or prayers. All are beloved here.