About

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Welcome Visitors

It is our hope that your visit to First Presbyterian Church of Downtown South Bend will be spirit-filled and a God-encountering moment. We want you to experience inspiring words, music and silence through worship of the living God. In order to make that happen, here are a few Frequently Asked Questions that we can answer before you even walk in the door.
Are these people like me?
FPC is one of the most diverse congregations in the area and we welcome you as you are to worship with us. There is no dress code. Our worship is printed weekly in a weekly bulletin with accessible language and instructions to be part of communal worship. If you have a question about why we say what we say, or do what we do, a ‘Reformed Worship” handout is located in the pew to learn more. Large-print bulletins and hearing assistance receivers are also available.
Can I Take Communion?
As part of the Reformed tradition, FPC recognizes the unmerited gift of grace and welcomes all (including children) to the table who believe Jesus Christ is Lord. Baptism and membership are not required but if they are something you have questions about, please talk with a pastor after worship.
Where do I park?
Parking is free along side Colfax Ave as well as the parking lots off Williams Street and Lafayette Blvd. The Sanctuary is in the center of the building and accessible through any entrance.
Is there child-care?
Yes! Child-care is with a CPS background checked and Red Cross certified First Aid/CPR trained adult. It is available from 8:30 am through the end of worship every Sunday. The Child care room is upstairs in the education wing for those families who need it. FPC has also recently introduced a child-friendly Prayer-Ground for families, located in the back of the sanctuary. This space is for families who wish to worship together and has child-size tables and chairs, coloring and silent toys. Worship bags are also available for those who wish their children to remain in the pews with them during worship. Traditionally, children remain in worship through the Children’s Moment and then are dismissed to the Child-care for those 3 years and under, or to Children’s Choir. Children also return to worship on Communion Sundays and partake, with parental permission.
 
How do you spell PRESBYTERIAN?
Presbyterians are a distinctive Reformed body of the Christian Faith in two major ways: we adhere to Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members. To learn more about the PC (USA) theology and form of government: The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Can I rent the social hall or other facilities for an event?
Yes! Our recently renovated Social Hall is a beautiful setting for family gatherings, professional meetings and other receptions where space is a must. A family friendly bathroom is right outside as well as space to prepare food. For current pricing and to confirm availability, please call the Church Office.

   

Ministries

Deacons, Elders and Ministries Committees


As a Reformed denomination, what makes Presbyterian’s unique is our form of government. It is representational in nature and function, needing both lay and ordained lay and clergy leadership to joyfully serve God. Ordained leadership in FPC South Bend include:
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Memorial Garden

The Memorial Garden is a peaceful and living place where members of our church, and their loved ones, can be memorialized. It is a place not only of remembrance, but also of reflection and renewal. A place of quiet refuge, it will serve as a constant reminder of loved ones inurned here.

Through the years, burial in a Christian church or churchyard has provided for internment on sacred ground, with a visible and continuous reminder of the Church’s important place in members’ lives and their deaths.

The First Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden continues this tradition of providing a reverent and peaceful churchyard setting for the burial of ashes. The Memorial Garden is provided as a pastoral service to the church’s members and their immediate families.

The Memorial Garden was made possible by the generous donations of several church members. Funds received from the sale of niches will be put in a trust fund to guarantee the perpetual care of the Garden.

For further information, please contact the Church Office.

Our Staff

Get to know them

  • Juan-Carlos Alarcon

    A native of Puebla, Mexico, Juan-Carlos Alarcon developed his love for music while playing piano at an early age. At the age of twelve he began work as a church accompanist, and by the age of sixteen he led the choir and congregation in Sunday worship services. His church service deepened his love and passion for the organ. He is a proud member of the St. Joseph Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and serves as the Sub Dean for the chapter. His musical activities have taken him to New York to perform at Carnegie hall in 2016 and 2019. In February of 2019, he traveled to Los Angeles to the 61st Grammy awards where the CD he was involved in, “American Dreamers, voices of hope, music of freedom” by John Daversa, received three Grammy awards. Juan-Carlos continually advocates for music education, STEAM education, the arts, and for education and inclusion for all. Because of his desire to further the arts, he is involved in leadership roles both in school and local musical organizations. His positions include membership in the Elkhart County Symphony board of directors and the IU South Bend Arts foundation board. He is a graduate of Indiana University South Bend where he completed a degree in Music Education and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in choral conducting at the University of Notre Dame Department of Sacred Music. Juan-Carlos enjoys being a part of the congregation at First Presbyterian Church of South Bend and looks forward to every Sunday when he gets to accompany the congregation in singing on the wonderful sanctuary organ.

  • Dr. Adelia Kelso

    Dr. Kelso was nurtured in the faith at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston Texas, where she heard the welcoming love of God for all people and received her identity as one of God’s precious and forgiven children. Taking that identity ‘on the road,’ she pursued degrees from such Presbyterian initiations as: Rhodes College(B.A.), Union Presbyterian Seminary (M.Div.), Columbia Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Ph.D.). Later, ‘down the road,’ she served churches in Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Having also lived in California and Connecticut, as well as Munich, Germany, and having grown up among mid-westerners who were newly-minted Texans, Dr. Kelso joyfully accepted the call to drive ‘up the road’ to become the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in South Bend in 2011. Here she joined mid-westerners (and transplanted mid-westerners from Malawi, Kenya and Zambia) in proclaiming the joyful, hope-filled good news of God’s presence with humankind. Already an avid downhill skier, she loves skiing with her son and taught him to sled and ice skate (he is way better than her now.). Boy Scouting is also their passion; he has earned his Eagle rank and she has earned Wood Badge. Along with her duties as “chief cook and dishes washer,” chauffeur, and catcher of boys-who fall-out-of-trees, she is planning to teach her son to water ski.

  • Carla Fay

    Carla works part-time as the church bookkeeper and is also part-time bookkeeper for a local Christian school = full time job! Carla is also, joyfully, enjoying motherhood of five children and most recently, grandmotherhood! Carla still finds time to cross-country ski with her dog, Jena.

  • Dr. Mark Beudert

    Choir Director
  • Wendy Henry

    Executive Assistant

    Wendy comes to First Presbyterian Church South Bend with over 25 years of experience working in an administrative field.  She has been a South Bend resident all her life.