Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz, Interim Senior Pastor

Bill has been an ordained Presbyterian pastor for over thirty years.  A native of the St. Louis area (Webster Groves), his academic background includes a B.A. in Economics & Business from Westminster College (Fulton, MO), a M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Eden Theological Seminary. Bill has served churches in Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Indiana.  Most recently he has served interim pastorates at St. John's UCC, Chesterfield; First Congregational Church of St. Louis; and, St. Lucas UCC, Sunset Hills.  Bill and his wife, Gina, have three adult sons, and are grandparents of Taylor, George, and Maggie.  Bill is an anglophile, music lover, apple grower, architecture junkie, stamp collector, frustrated model railroader....who thinks the Green Bay Packers hold a special place in the divine pantheon...who trusts that there will always be a Church of Jesus Christ, but believes the Holy Spirit is presently shaping the church in new and different ways for God's future!

Bill is looking forward to his time in the First Presbyterian Kirkwood community, working with the staff, and (hopefully) a return to in-person worship and other gatherings in 2021.

Rev. Dr. Karen Blanchard, Associate Pastor

Karen was born in New York City and grew up in Connecticut. She received her B.A. from The College of Wooster (including a semester studying at New College Divinity School in Edinburgh) and then attended Boston University School of Theology where she received her Masters of Divinity degree. She first served at Second Presbyterian Church in the Central West End of St. Louis. She received a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 1990 from Eden Theological Seminary. She then served as Pastor of Pacific (Missouri) Presbyterian Church for nearly eight years before coming to First Pres in 1999. Karen is married to Scott Martin, a fellow Wooster grad, who is a commercial real estate broker. They have two children, Zoe and Jonathan. At First Pres, Karen works with the Deacons, Adult Education, Stephen Ministers, the New Member Committee and helping to lead or create small groups. Within the larger church, Karen serves on the Pastoral Care Committee and completed training in mediation training with the Lombard Center. She also spends time enjoying her love of reading, travel, and gardening.

Mr. Bill Stein, Director of Music Ministries

Bill Stein was raised in northern Illinois. He began taking piano and organ lessons at an early age and played his first worship service at the age of 12. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree in organ from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a Master of Music Performance degree in organ and sacred music from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern he studied organ with Wolfgang Rubsam, choral conducting with Richard Webster, and church music with Margaret Kemper. Bill served churches in Chicago and Rockford, Illinois as both Organist and Music Director. He has completed several choir tours of Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, and England as conductor, organist and accompanist.

Bill began serving First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood as Director of Music Ministries on May 1, 2006. At First Presbyterian, Bill is the church's Organist, conducts the Chancel Choir, Chancel Ringers, Middle School Ringers, Chorister Choir, and Church Orchestra. At First Presbyterian he has led major works for choir and orchestra such as Handel's "Messiah", Vivaldi's "Gloria", Lauridsen's "Lux Aeterna", Durufle's "Requiem", and Poulenc's "Gloria". Bill led the Chancel Choir on a tour of Scotland and England in October 2010, performing in St. Gile's Cathedral (Edinburgh), Coventry Cathedral, York Minster, and St. Paul's Cathedral in London. He is a member of the church's Organ Committee and is excited about the installation of their new Casavant Freres Pipe Organ in October 2013. He serves as Artistic Director of the church's Con Spirito Concert Series, currently celebrating its 13th season. Bill is member of the Steering Committee planning the American Guild of Organists 2015 regional convention, and has served on the Executive Board of the St. Louis Chapter, American Guild of Organists. He is an active recitalist and accompanist.

Mr. Travis Evans, Music Associate

Travis assists and supports our growing music ministry. His responsibilities include directing the Chancel Ringers and Middle School Ringers, accompanying and assisting with the Chancel Choir, serving as assistant organist, and performing administrative duties in the office for the music ministry.

Travis is an Adjunct Faculty member at St. Charles  Community College, where he teaches a variety of courses in music. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Missouri - St. Louis and Lindenwood University. In addition to his academic work, Evans has spent the last two decades as a church musician. He also volunteers on a grant advisory panel for the Missouri Arts Council. -

He holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) where he studied both organ and composition with Dr. Barbara Harbach, and a Masters of Music in Organ Performance from Webster University in St. Louis where he studied with William Partridge, Canon Precentor at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis.  While pursuing his academic degrees he had additional studies in choral conducting with Dr. James Henry, conductor of the Ambassadors of Harmony and head of the choral department at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and instrumental conducting with Dr. Paul Davis at Webster University. 

As a performer, Evans has appeared on the Shepley Concert Series at Christ Church Cathedral, numerous solo performances and the King of Instruments radio program on the Radio Arts Foundation in St. Louis. He spent two seasons as the Artistic Director for the Choral Art Singers in St. Charles County Missouri. In 2017, he composed and oversaw the musical direction of an original score for a production of Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” at St. Charles Community College.  In 2018, he was a presenter at the American Guild of Organists January Jubilee and is a member of  the faculty for the UMSL Summer Keyboard camp. His first published composition will be released by Paraclete Press in 2020.

Mr. Rob Monroe, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries

Rob Monroe grew up inside the Washington, DC, beltway and served churches in Maryland and Virginia before moving to the Midwest in 2010. He has served on Presbytery, Synod and Regional committees focusing on children, youth, and education.

Rob joined the staff at First Pres in January of 2012 as Director of Youth Ministries and Mission. In the summer of 2015 Rob expanded his role and is now responsible for the Children, Youth and Family Ministries.

Mrs. Sherry Peters, Director of the Children's Center

Sherry became the Director of the Children's Center (Preschool and Kids' Day Out Program) in June of 2015. She and her husband, Mike, have four children. They reside in Kirkwood.

Mrs. Jane Meppiel, Financial Secretary


Ms. Paula Bujewski, Office Administrator

Mr. Dee Robinson, Head Custodian

Mrs. Becky Craig, LOGOS Coordinator

Mrs. Julie Weber, Sunday School Coordinator