Pastors & Staff

REV. Sarah Marie Bigwood

Head of Staff, Pastor

As the leader of this historic downtown church, I look forward to preaching, teaching, and working with our well-trained and talented staff to provide inspiring ministry. I will also provide strategic leadership as this congregation thinks creatively about the future of God's ministry in the expanding Fargo-Moorhead area.
I began exploring my faith in college after spending time with a group of campus ministry students who were open and welcoming. When I graduated college and began working as a computer consultant, I met a man, Tom, who was a life-long Presbyterian and was willing to take me to church with him. Soon after, I was baptized and Tom and I were married in a small church in St. Louis Park, MN.
I first sensed a call to ministry when Tom and I were helping with the junior high youth program at church. I enrolled in seminary to explore my calling but put my plans on hold to start our family. While raising our small children, I continued my ministry at Valley Community Presbyterian Church, rebuilding their youth program and starting a young adult program. I returned to seminary when our children were in elementary school and was ordained in February 2016.  
I love to learn and teach. One of my biggest joys was starting a STEM program at Valley Church and then extending that to an after-school program at Liberty church in North Minneapolis by invitation of their pastor.
Tom and I enjoy traveling. Our biggest adventure (so far) was spending three months in Japan prior to starting our family. We also enjoy building things. We gutted and remodeled our former home and used our skills to lead a church-wide project to build accessibility ramps for under-served seniors in Minneapolis.
I graduated from Augsburg University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computational Economics and from Luther Seminary in 2015 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Tom and I have family in North Dakota and Minnesota, but I'm relatively new to the Fargo area. My goal is to get as involved as possible in the wider community, serving wherever my gifts are most needed.

REV. MARY JO E. (DAHLBERG) HOLTEY

Associate Pastor

Mary has been the Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Fargo, North Dakota since 1992.  She grew up in Southwestern Minnesota and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B.A. degree in biology.  She was a research technician at the Mayo Clinic before starting seminary at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1989.  While at Princeton Mary received the Robert P. Goodlin Award for pastoral care and clinical ministry.  She went on to complete two residencies of Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Minnesota Hospital and at Abbott Northwestern/Minneapolis Children’s Hospitals before beginning her call to the Fargo Church.
Her primary responsibilities include pastoral care to and nurture of the congregation, and outreach beyond the walls of the church building –  missions within the community and region, as well as with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Kenya.
Mary and her husband of 23 years, Tom, have two young adult children, David and Sarah.  She’s a “dyed in the wool” Minnesota Vikings fan and has never met a Sudoku or Cryptoquip she didn’t like!

jan lundgren

Business Manager

Jan Lundgren joined First Pres in 2014 as the Business Manager where she processes contributions, does the financial reporting and payroll.  Previously, she spent 8 years as the part-time bookkeeper for Messiah Lutheran Church, which is also her church home.  Before moving to Fargo, she was a staff accountant/payroll for a manufacturing firm in Minneapolis for over 10 years.  She enjoys meeting congregants, loves her coworkers and appreciates the flexibility her position offers to attend her children’s activities.
Jan has been married for 21 years to husband, Michael. They live in North Fargo with their three children, Sophie, Natalie & Daniel, and a naughty cat, Rufus.  An avid reader, you’ll usually find her with a book in hand when she’s not on a walk, attending one of her children’s events or folding countless loads of laundry.

penny andrist

Coordinator of Children's Ministries

Education: MA in Learning Disabilities
BA in Psychology/Secondary Education
Certification in Elementary Education
Minor in Coaching
 
Penny Andrist has been on the staff of FPC for 10 years as the Coordinator of Children’s Ministry. She reviews and selects curriculum for all levels of elementary Christian Education, oversees the nursery, recruits and trains teaching volunteers, plans special events and the annual Children’s Worship Service, and directs VBS.
Penny Andrist began her teaching career in 1984, first working in public schools in Williston, ND and then as a self-employed consultant and educator for businesses, associations and the UND Continuing Education Staff. She started her own Children’s Music company, Penny & Pals, in 1990 and continues to write, record and perform in a wide variety of family-friendly venues. She conducts music and movement workshops with youth every summer, has recorded seven award-winning albums and numerous commissioned works, including curriculum, theme songs and jingles.

In her free time, Penny loves almost any outdoor activity – hiking, biking, running and gardening – and anything musical, especially her ukulele! She is married, has three old cats and lots of other family that she hangs out with, usually at the kids’ table.

kayla bones

Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministries

Kayla Bones (she/her) has served as the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at First Presbyterian Church since June of 2015. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a degree in religion and music in May of 2015. Most recently, in May of 2019, Kayla earned her MA in Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary.  
Kayla is interested in thinking about the future of the church and how we do ministry together. The questions she asks are: How do we live out our faith in our daily lives through our relationships with one another? How do we watch for and name God’s action in the world? How do we engage young people in the life of the church?
In her spare time, Kayla likes to binge-watch PBS Masterpiece Theater shows and reality TV, read, play board games and trivia, and travel.

sally harmon

Music Coordinator/Organist

Sally Gunkelman Harmon was born and raised in Fargo. Following 12 years of private piano lessons before college, she graduated from NDSU in 1976 with a BS in Music Education/emphasis on Piano Performance. Sally became a church musician, accompanying children’s choirs and playing for church services while a young teenager, and continued on to become Assistant Organist and then Organist and Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Fargo. She joined the staff of First Presbyterian in 2010. Sally and her husband, David, have three grown sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Bryan Poyzer

Adult Choir Director

Bryan Poyzer grew up in Amenia, North Dakota, and attended Westminster Presbyterian Church in Casselton. He is the Program Coordinator of the Performing Arts at North Dakota State College of Science, where he teaches music theory, aural skills, applied lessons, and music appreciation. He also directs the NDSCS Concert Choir and Wildcat Singers. Bryan has also been the choral director at United Lutheran Church in Elbow Lake, Minnesota since 2008.
Bryan holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal/instrumental music education from Valley City State University, a master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas, and a master’s degree in music education from North Dakota State University.
As a performer, Bryan sings with the MState Master Chorale, plays alto sax with the Lakes Area All Stars, and shares bass guitar duties with the “Components.”
Bryan lives in Elbow Lake MN with his wife, Jessica, and has four grown children.

Rick Fiebiger

Facility Manager

Rick Fiebiger is the Facilities Manager at First Presbyterian Church. He has been with First Presbyterian for 16 years.
Rick works closely with the Building and Grounds Committee to ensure the church and grounds are well maintained. The historical aspects of the church are very interesting to him.
He is an avid reader and enjoys gardening on his homestead.

Drew Brovold

Janitor

Drew was born in Fargo, ND, where he attended West Fargo High School and graduated in 2009.
His hobbies include going to concerts and Frisbee golfing. His favorite bands are Modest Mouse and Pink Floyd.
Drew previously worked in fast food management. He is excited to learn as much as he can about the facilities and upkeep of the church.