Kip Murphy, Senior Pastor
Kip Murphy has served as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs since May of 2015. Prior to this, Kip served as the pastor at First Presbyterian in Williamsburg, Iowa for nearly seven years. He loves the idea from early church father, John Chrysostom, that “the church is a hospital for sinners.” It’s a reminder that the church needs to be a place where we can be honest about who we are and what we’ve done. It shouldn’t be a place where we have to pretend we have our lives altogether. Kip is also passionate about God’s Word being central in our lives and our life of faith.
Kip began his professional career in the sciences. He completed a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Colorado in 1990 and worked as a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa in Iowa City from 1993-2005. Perceiving God’s call to ministry, Kip earned his M. Div. from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS) in 2008. Kip completed a Doctor of Ministry degree from UDTS with a focus on enhancing the ministry of Teaching Elders through revitalization of the ministry of Ruling Elders in 2017.
Kip and his wife, Lee, love life in northern Michigan. Both were raised in Colorado and love the outdoors in all four seasons. They have three adult children, two of who are married. Outside of work, Kip and Lee both enjoy reading, hiking, snowshoeing, cooking together, music, and just being in one another’s company.
Monica Pavel Kissinger, Director of Arts & Music Ministry
Monica joined the First Presbyterian Church staff in January 2017. She moved in Harbor Springs together with her husband, Josef, and their then one year old daughter, Sofie. Their previous home was in Muncie, IN where she studied for her doctoral degree in choral conducting at Ball State University. During her time in Indiana she served as the Director of Music at Hazelwood Christian Church in Muncie for four years. Her experience in church music goes back to 2005 when she started working at different churches in Chicago area. Monica is originally from Romania where she started her music education as a young child. Together with her parents and older sister she moved to the States in 1997, settling in Chicago suburbs. She received her undergraduate degree in Piano Performance from DePaul University, masters degree from Andrews University, Berrien Springs MI, in both choral conducting and piano performance, and is working on her dissertation to complete her doctoral degree.
Monica and Josef were blessed with another baby girl in February, 2018. Her name is Anya. They enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking. Their older daughter, Sofie, got on her skies when she was only one year and a half old.
Monica’s interests are music, drawing, literature on the power of music, history of arts, jogging, cross-country skiing, and cooking. She loves spending time with her babies, reading to them, and teaching them songs.
Monica is dedicated to enrich the Music Ministry at First Presbyterian Church by introducing creative projects to the newly formed Fine Arts Team, by forming new musical ensembles such as brass and children’s choir, and by encouraging members’ participation in the services with whichever their talent might be.
Monica looks forward to meeting new people all the time. Send her an email and also share with her if you would like to be involved in the Arts and Music Ministries.
Reneé Morris, Director of Christian Education
We are pleased to welcome Renee’ Morris to FPCHS as our new Children’s Christian Education Director. She and her husband, Ryan, recently moved to Harbor Springs from Tyler, Texas. He is a physical therapist and the manager of McLaren Home Health Care in Cheboygan.
Having been born and having lived all of her life in Tyler she met her husband at a friend’s backyard barbeque. The couple have three young children. The twins, Ryan and Crystopher, are five and Locke is four. They also have three grown children Brandon, Leigha and Cody. These children have given them five grandchildren.
Renee’ likes to spend time reading, hiking with friends and listening to music. She also enjoys baking, doing various crafts and is currently learning to knit. At Genesis she led a play group for children, their parents and caregivers helping them to grow their connections to the church and other families. She also led “Mom and Me” Bible studies.
Renee’ said, “I love this church!” She has enjoyed how welcoming the people have been showing her genuine appreciation and support. Her entire family feels blessed to be here. In her ministry here she hopes to connect with new and current families building strong bonds through the love of God.
Sharon Van Buren