Meet the Staff
Rev. Daniel M. Davis - Pastor
I am a child of the church.
For 8 years it was an independent bible church in the KC suburbs on the Kansas side that was in large part the family church for my father's family. That was where my two older brothers, 11 and 7 years older, grew up and where one Sunday morning before the service started I ask my mom an important question. “Why does the pastor always get so made us, mom?” Mom said, “He doesn't get mad at us! What makes you think that?” I replied, “Because by the end of his sermon he's always yelling at me like I did something wrong.”
Shortly thereafter we began going to a Methodist church, which is the one I grew up in! Sunday School and Sunday morning worship, then it was the Niners (9th grade) Youth Group followed by the Sr. High Youth Group and serving as president for 2 years, ushering and being the only high schooler that served as the captain of one of the usher teams, and serving as the youth delegate for the annual conference. Mom and dad also did their part, they made very close and life-long friendships there, hosting the dinner group of 8 (then 9), teaching the special needs class of kids for many years - staying with them as the kids grew into adults.
Then it was the Ecumenical Christian Ministries program at Kansas State University for a few years. Going to the weeknight studies/discussions, eating Sunday night meals at the ECM building, playing on their intramural teams, becoming life-long friends with Rodney, the ECM campus pastor during those years.
Then on to my first stop in a Presbyterian church in North KC after I graduated from college. After a year I was elected an elder and after two years I went off to a McCormick Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian school, figuring that God led me to the PC(USA) denomination for a reason.
Then three years immersed in all things Presbyterian and big city life in Chicago. There the first two years were like taking the Bible, a book that I knew fairly well and loved greatly, and tearing it apart - Old Testament from New, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, even - until there was not much left. The third year we put it all back together! Along the way I learned Presbyterian history, how to write and preach a sermon (don't be chained to your manuscript!), all about Presbyterian polity, and my personal favorite, Reformed Theology!
I didn't do all my learning just in seminary, no! I learned at each stop along my way. At first it was Old Testament Bible stories by rote and as if they were all true. Then it was learning that the Bible is not a history or science or any kind of textbook. It's a series of love letters to God from us and from God to us (that part written by people who were called by God to be God's voice.) Then how Gospels served as an insight into the life of Jesus. Next it was learning about this book and the people in it and how both can serve as a guide for how we live our lives. Then I learned how the Bible can and should raise more questions than answers. Then I learned how to read the Bible critically.
In the end I can say this, I read the Bible too seriously to take it literally. Reading about Jesus in the Bible and in various other books and commentaries on the scriptures always makes me think - about how faith and life intersect, about how to live life better, how to forgive as I have been forgiven, how to love, how to practice justice, seek peace, and walk humbly with God. That means when I preach I want other to hear and think about what Jesus, God, the Bible and having faith means.
I am not a member of a church even though I have joined two churches and five presbyteries as a member. I see myself more as a struggling, striving, practicing follower and disciple of Jesus, the risen Christ. As a pastor I want to help people be followers and disciples too.
Gale Hoag - Administrative AssistantGale is a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church and resident of Iola. She is raising one daughter named Chloe with her husband, Steve and enjoys living only two blocks away from work. She has been working in the office for about four years now and enjoys the ability to keep the church organized and running smoothly. Contact Gale.
Kathleen McCollam - Organist/PianistKathleen serves as organist and accompanist for the chancel choir. She received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Pittsburg State University and Master of Music in Piano Performance from the UMKC Conservatory of Music. She teaches preschool through advanced students in her private studio at the church. Her students participate regularly in recitals, festivals and contests. Several of her students have graduated from college with music degrees and are teaching music in public schools. In her “free time,” Kathleen plays the Celtic harp at social gatherings. Contact Kathleen.
Diana Asher - Video Technician/"Jack of All Trades"Diana Asher is married to Bill Asher and has three children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She is a former educator and for 33 years taught elementary education, was a principal at two elementary schools and then became Vice Principal at the Iola Middle School. She is currently retired and spends many hours volunteering. The places she volunteers the most are the Bowlus Fine Arts & Cultural Center, the First Presbyterian Church and the Iola Public Library. At the Bowlus she helps in the office, helps with the cultural attractions, and is President of the Friends of the Bowlus. At the library, she helps with book sales. As a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Iola, Kansas, she has volunteered for many jobs. She has been a Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, Deacon, Deacon Moderator, VBS teacher, Secretary, Choir member, Financial Secretary, and is presently an Elder, Sunday Soups Coordinator, Soups table decorator and Video technician. Her hobbies are reading and working on the computer. Contact Diana.
William Wall - Webcast and Sound TechnicianWilliam is one of the Web Technicians at First Presbyterian Church in Iola, Kansas. His job is to manage both the soundboard and live stream during worship and other events. A lifelong church attendant, William's main hobbies are playing video games and walking outdoors. He also works at Sunday Soups which is a free meal service provided by the Presbyterian church. William currently lives in Iola and is attending nearby Allen Community College.
Daniel Wall - Webcast and Sound TechnicianDaniel is a 17-year-old teenager living in Iola. He manages both the soundboard and live stream service of Worship, Funerals, etc. Daniel's main hobbies are programming and rhythm-based video games. He also works at Sunday Soups for whatever is needed. He is currently homeschooled. Contact Daniel.
A&J Cleaning - Aimee and Jeff Callway - CustodiansAimee and Jeff have been keeping our church in working order for many years. They are very busy people, each holding a full-time job aside from their cleaning business! Aimee works in Customer Service at Advantage Computers in Iola and Jeff works in maintenance at Tramec Sloan in Iola. They have been married for 32 years and have one daughter together. Along with their A&J Cleaning staff, they have been keeping the church in tip top shape for 25+ years! Contact Aimee and Jeff.
April Hudson - Clerk of Session
April Hudson is our clerk of Session and has been a church member over 30 years. This is her second term as clerk we are so grateful for her particular attention to detail and the great work she does!!
April is an Elder and Deacon, and has also served as Moderator of the Deacons. She’s a former choir and bell choir member, has taught Sunday school for many years, and done work with the youth group, Angelfood Ministries and Sunday Soups. Before he passed away in 2014, her husband Rick was also a member and served on the Board of Deacons. She currently has two dogs (the girls) and a cat (Bubba) at home.
Ed Miller - Treasurer of SessionEd is a life long member of this church having been a member for over seventy years. He is a retired apparel manufacturing executive. Over the years he has served as a Sunday School teacher, youth group leader, Financial Secretary, Session member, Deacons member and has run the sound board. Ed is married to Betty. They have 5 children and nine grandchildren. They lost their youngest daughter to cancer in 1984. For years he played tennis with a group that was mostly Presbyterians. His hobbies now are usually health related and being a Jayhawk basketball fan. Contact Ed.
Jay Kretzmeier - Financial Secretary of Session and Treasurer of Deacons
The Financial Secretary position serves to deposit most all funds coming into the church, tracks stewardship records, accounts for gifts and memorials, and transfers remaining operating funds over to the Church Treasurer. Jay is a local public accountant who joined the church as a young adult, and married his wife Terri who also grew up in the church. With membership soon approaching fifty years Jay has served as a Presbytery Delegate to Synod, as Commissioner to Presbytery, Clerk of Session, as well as terms as Deacon, Elder, and Treasurer. He acknowledges his musical limitations, but finds his participation in the church choir very rewarding. Jay and Terri have two daughters and are soon to be first time grandparents. Bicycling has become a favorite Summer pastime for him along with maintaining the Southwind Railtrail with other local volunteers.
Rich Banz - Moderator of DeaconsRich is retired. He was a teacher in Manhattan, Kansas for ten years. He was a middle-school and high school principal for twenty years. He retired in his mid-fifties and worked as a technician for ten years for Sonic Equipment Company. Rich has served the church as a deacon and an elder. He was involved with Angel Food Ministries and participated in several mission trips to Mexico. He has worked on many local mission projects, also.
Sally Huskey - Sunday SoupsSally is retired, having worked for 25 years at Southeast Kansas Library System in Iola. She has been a member of First Presbyterian Church for the past 35 years. She is an ordained elder and has served as Church Secretary, Clerk of Session, and a member of the Board of Deacons as well as singing in the Chancel Choir and directing the Handbell Choir for 30 years. She presently oversees the work of Sunday Soups and volunteers at the Iola Community Food Pantry.