Rev. Thomas (T.J.) Parlette
T.J. has been the Pastor and Head of Staff of First Presbyterian since June 2010. A native Texan, T.J. grew up in many different places all over the country including Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Illinois.
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Finally settling in Bloomington, Illinois, he graduated from Bloomington High School and went to Eastern Illinois University, majoring in Psychology.
T.J. received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1990 and was ordained to the position of Associate Pastor at Westmont Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on September 30, 1990. After serving for five years at Westmont, T.J. accepted the call to become the pastor of Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church on the East End of Long Island, where he served for 8 years. In 2003, he moved to Brookville, Pennsylvania to serve as pastor and Head of Staff for Brookville Presbyterian Church prior to moving to Rochester.
T.J. works closely with the Session (as moderator), the Mission committee, the Social Concerns committee, Personnel and Administration, Worship and Music and Stewardship and Finance. He is the primary worship planner and preacher, leads officer training sessions and new member classes, often leads Advent and Lenten Bible studies, and coordinates the work of the staff.
T.J. is active in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and is currently serving as the moderator of the Presbytery. In addition, T.J. is active storyteller, specializing in biblical stories and folktales and is a Certified Master Biblical Storyteller through the Network of Biblical Storytellers.
T.J. and his wife Juliet have two sons – Grafton and Thomson – who keep them quite busy. Juliet is an English teacher and swim coach, Grafton is an avid swimmer and tennis player, while Thomson enjoys swimming and playing soccer.
Rev. Jay P. Rowland
Jay is a native of Minneapolis where he graduated from Washburn High School. He earned his BA degree from the University of Minnesota in 1986 and began a career in broadcast journalism and television.
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He later moved to Los Angeles and worked in television programming for Paramount and Universal Pictures. He left L.A. for New Jersey to enroll at Princeton Seminary where he received his Masters (Mdiv). Jay was ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia PC(USA) in 1998.
Jay came on staff in March 2001. His primary responsibilities are pastoral care and education. He is staff liaison to the Deacons, Welcoming and Nurturing, and Christian Education committees. Jay also teaches 8th-grade Sunday school/confirmation and helps supervise the education and youth programs. Between 2008 and 2010 Jay carried the duties of both senior pastor and associate pastor as the church transitioned between the retirement of Pastor Neal Lloyd in 2008, the death of the interim pastor and the arrival of Pastor T. J. Parlette in 2010.
In addition to his passions for worship, Christian Education, spirituality, and pastoral care Jay is particularly interested in spiritual formation and the church in the digital age. He’s an avid reader (history, biography, poetry and selective fiction) and a lifelong fan of all Minnesota sports teams.
Jay and his wife Käri have four (older) children. Ellie graduated from college in 2017, Hannah enrolled in college Fall 2018, Lilly graduates from high school May 2019, and Calvin is in his final year of middle school. Jay & Käri cherish any time all four kids are in the same place at the same time. Their extended family live in the Twin Cities area and Wisconsin.
Lee J. Afdahl
Director of Music & Organist
Lee leads our music ministry as he has since 1991. He directly conducts the three handbell choirs and two of the four vocal choirs, serves as advisor to the concert series and the elementary band program, First Players.
Coordinator of Youth & Christian Education
Susanna Stone is no stranger to our youth program, becoming involved as a youth leader and mentor soon after joining the church in 2014.
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Susanna grew up in La Grange Park, Illinois, went to college in Galesburg, Illinois, attended law school at the University of Illinois, and attended graduate school at the University of Missouri. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, being outdoors, refereeing soccer, and bike riding. She brings a passion and a solid background in education and youth programs, most recently here in Rochester leading various training programs with the Diversity Council and teaching Pre-K through Grade 8 Spanish at Rochester Central Lutheran School. Susanna is also on our Board of Deacons (class of 2019).
Part time custodian/security