Family Ministry

Director of Children, Youth and Families



Sunday School Coordinator- Open, see employment page under members and friends for the job description

CYF Connections Assistant
Commissioned Lay Pastor


Judi Geistlinger
Commissioned Lay Pastor

Judi is a Commissioned Lay Pastor, trained through the Synod of Lincoln Trails. She graduated from the University of Illinois with bachelors and master’s degrees in education. In addition to her role planning and leading worship (on a part-time basis), she teaches computer workshops for staff full-time at the University of Illinois with the Technology Services department. She previously served at First Pres as ministry assistant for youth and adult education departments in the late 90’s to 2005. When not working, she enjoys cozy mysteries and keeping fit. Judi and her husband, Jay, live in Champaign. They have two adult children, Ted and Beth. 

Operations Team
Marcia Franks
Administrative Assistant
Marcia has been with the church for over twenty-five years. She attended Parkland College in the legal secretarial program. She is presently Administrative Manager and oversees the running of the church office among other duties. Her family includes two grown daughters, Erin and Laura, five granddaughters and a grandson. Marcia grew up in Philo but has since moved to Savoy.
Patty Farthing

Patty has been a member of this congregation since 1978 and has served as Director of Nursery and Childcare and is currently serving as Receptionist. Her formal training is in early child development and elementary education. She and her husband Bruce are certified parent educators and have been teaching parenting classes for many years in our church and community. Patty and Bruce have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Ann Petry

Ann joined First Pres in 2015, having previously worked as a bookkeeper for an engineering firm in Urbana. She holds an Associates Degree in accounting from Parkland College and a Bachelors Degree in General Studies from Eastern Illinois University. Ann and her husband, Greg, have four grown children and seven grandchildren.



Ritchie Drennen
Facilities Manager

Ritchie grew up in Robinson, Illinois and moved to Champaign in 2000. He joined the staff at First Pres in 2011. This is where he met his wife who is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Robert Ferrer
Audio Visual Technician

Robert comes to First Pres from the University of Illinois, having retired following 25 years of service managing the IT infrastructure at Grainger Engineering Library. He holds three Masters Degrees: Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Information Science from Columbia University, and Education Technology from San Francisco State University. Robert is our staff’s newlywed. He and his bride, Patricia, who came all the way from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to marry Robert, were wed in July, 2020.


Rachel Matthews
Mission Coordinator

Rachel is our part-time Mission Coordinator, assisting our Mission Team, World Mission and Community Mission Deacons, as well as other groups in the church, to live out our call to serve others.

She holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, a Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education and a Doctor of Ministry in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

She is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois.

When not working Rachel enjoys walking, gardening, reading and going to movies with her husband, Matt.

Bonnie Ward
ELL/ESL Director

Bonnie is a Champaign resident, originally from Connecticut. She and her husband have been in ministry since 1990. Most recently, Bonnie was on staff with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship for 13 years, working with international students. She currently works part-time with the New American Welcome Center, teaching English to non-native English speaking staff. She has also been a volunteer at First Presbyterian’s ELL program for 8 years. Bonnie and her husband have 4 adult children and 5 grandchildren. 

Joe Grant
Director of Music

Joe has been Adult Choir Director at First Presbyterian Church since August 1996. Joe has a Doctorate in Education and recently retired as a faculty member at the University of Illinois School of Music. He and his wife Becky have three children: two daughters, Kelly and Erin, and a son Joe. Recreational interests include tennis and golf.

Sora Shepard
Church Organist/ Pianist


Sora Park Shepard was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to America to pursue a master’s degree. She earned her M.M. and Artist’s diploma from Western Illinois University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

Shepard currently works full-time as a piano instructor and staff accompanist at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Previously she served as director of the University of Kansas Community Music School and has worked as a pianist at KU, Washburn University, and MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas. When not playing and teaching piano, Sora enjoys running, weight lifting, tending her plants, and spending time with her cat, Mimsey, and her husband, Matthew.

Libby Sternhagen
Bell Choir Director

Libby has been with First Presbyterian since she moved from Minnesota to Champaign in 2019, and has been directing FPC’s Upper Room Ringers bell choir since 2021. Libby has played handbells since childhood and had been in a number of bell choirs over including the Tintinnabula handbell choir at her alma mater, (Concordia College, Moorhead, MN), Bells in Motion (a community bell choir based in central Illinois) and several church bell choirs. Libby holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Conservation Science and in addition to her musical endeavors, works as a research biologist for the US Army Corps. In her free time, Libby enjoys exploring nature with her dog.”



The Church is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all persons on the basis of individual qualifications, without regard to race, national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law.
Hiring and promotion are based on job-related requirements and on an individual’s qualifications to perform the job. This policy of non-discrimination of the Church applies equally to all phases of the employer-employee relationship, including, but not limited to, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, benefits, and termination.