Meet Our Staff

Meet our Staff

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Wayne Potter

Director of Youth and Family Life Ministries

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Wayne comes to us from St. Charles, Illinois and is very excited to get started with our youth activities and begin the new Sunday School year in September. He embraces the concept of combining youth, Christian Education, and family life responsibilities in one position.

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Liz Atkinson

Financial Manager

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Educated at Schoolcraft College majoring in Business Administration and Accounting. Liz spent 16 years as the Operations Manager for an Accounting/Data Processing firm before moving north to Torch Lake with her husband, Robert. Liz and her husband have been married for 30 years and have 3 children. She divides her time between her financial duties at FPC and her position of Milton Township Treasurer.

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Cheryl Knight

Director of Music

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Cheryl is a graduate of Oakland University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal music education, grades K – 12. She taught elementary vocal music in the Detroit metropolitan area as well as in northern Michigan. Cheryl is a past choir director at the Traverse City Presbyterian Church. She has been directing the Elk Lake Community Choir for a number of years and has participated in the Elk Rapids Rotary Show as well. Cheryl and her husband, George, live on Elk Lake. They have two daughters and three sons.

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Rev. Jim Porter

Senior Pastor

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Pastor Jim graduated from Louisville Theological Seminary and has been preaching and leading in the Presbyterian tradition ever since. Prior to Elk Rapids, his most recent charge was at St. Thomas Community Presbyterian Church in Shelby Twp., MI, where he served along with his wife, Rev. Jaime Klinger, for 20 years

Rev. Porter is currently involved in a two-year faith formation program called “Transforming Community.” The purpose of this program is to engage individuals in “true spiritual transformation by which Christ is formed in us …for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives, and for the sake of others.” Rev. Porter believes this is the heart of the gospel message, and we are hopeful that this program can be shared in Elk Rapids to build excitement for continuing the work of Christ in the world today.

Jim and Jaime have three children Abby, Ben, and Caroline. Abby is currently seeking employment as a teacher, Ben lives and works in East Lansing, and Caroline will start this fall at Northern Michigan University.

One of the things that drew Jim to our church was our mission statement: “We are called to introduce Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him; deepen the faith and commitment of those who already know him; and to demonstrate Christ’s way of love in service to the world.”

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Rachel Stratton

Contemporary Worship Director

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Rachel received a Bachelor's of Music in Music Education from Alma College in 2018. Although her degree is in education, she has been interested in worship ministry since high school. In addition to volunteering with many worship teams over the last ten years, Rachel was a worship leader for two years during college. Rachel believes that music is a gift from God and should be used first and foremost to glorify Him. Originally from McBride, MI, Rachel now lives in Cadillac with her husband Nick, her cat Slinky, and her leopard gecko Mango.