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Staff of First Presbyterian

Rev. Kim Adams, Senior Pastor and Head of Staff

A cradle Presbyterian, Kimber-lee (Kim) is originally from New London, Pennsylvania, but also spent her formative years in Berkeley Heights, NJ and Tarpon Springs, FL. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been an important part of her, and her family's life. In fact, the church is where she learned the importance of relationships and community. Kim believes the Scriptures reveal that God desires to be in relationship with us, evidenced in the person of Christ, and as people of faith, we are then called to be in relationship with one another. The church is a natural place for these intentional relationships to occur as we work together to be Christ's body living and breathing in the world to share the good news of His love.   

Kim joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in September 2019 and loves the church deeply. In her planning and leading of worship that is joyous, communal, and thought-provoking, her excitement is palpable — not to mention it's a great way to begin the week! Kim takes great joy being in ministry alongside First Presbyterian Church and celebrates the spiritual gifts this community has. 


Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a Minor in Art History from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, and a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to coming to Valparaiso, she served churches in Bloomington, Indiana; Bradenton, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois. 


Kim met her husband, Jason while attending the University of South Florida. Together they have two children and all together they care for their two golden retrievers. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, exploring, fishing, traveling, gardening, writing, walking along the beach, and dreaming of ways to help make the world a better place. By the way, what did you do today to make the world a better place? 


Kimber-lee is one of the contributors to Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2018) and wrote for the companion curriculum in 2020. She has written Adult Reflection Guides for Follow Me: Biblical Practices for Faithful Living. Kim recently completed a three-year term on the Presbyterian Association of Musicians Executive Board and served on the planning team for the 2023 Worship & Music Conference, Thirst No More. In January of 2023, Kim was one of 12 Indiana clergy selected to be part of a two-year cohort with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program. 

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Rev. Dr. Julia Qiuye Zhao, Associate Pastor in Residence

Julia was born in the district of Huaxi, a small urban district in Guizhou province in Southwest China. Her Chinese name means Autumn Leaf and she grew up near rice paddies, farmer's markets that sold live chickens and learned to swim in the Huaxi River. She immigrated to Canada with her family when she was nine years old and grew up in Toronto where she came to faith in Jesus and was baptized in a small Baptist church in Etobicoke, Ontario.  


She felt called to ministry and teaching almost since she was first baptized at the age of eleven. As a teenager, she taught Sunday School at Asbury and West, a congregation of the United Church of Canada, a union of Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists. During her undergraduate years at the University of Toronto, she majored in History with a minor in English and worked actively in ministry with international students at the University of Toronto and various local language schools. She also worked with Gathering Spot, a collaborative ministry between a number of churches in Toronto for those living with physical and financial challenges to share meals and fellowship.  


Her sense of call led her to the doctoral program in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame. During her PhD studies, she was drawn to the Reformed tradition, where she saw the coming together of spirituality, ministry and the intellect. She joined Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, Indiana where she began the process toward ordained ministry. Her preparation for ministry began at the beginning of the global Covid pandemic when she entered seminary in the fall of 2020. While completing her Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, she served as the Creative and Innovative intern at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville where she helped to lead and support the congregation through a year of transitioning between in-person, hybrid and online worship due to varying rates of infection. She completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center where she served patients from a variety of faith and cultural backgrounds. She is also a trained spiritual director with Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Before coming to FPCV, she worshiped with Faith Presbyterian Church while living in Indianapolis, where she served in Faith Formation and preaching.  


Julia is delighted to begin her time as Associate Pastor in Residence at First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso. From her first visit, she felt at home in this warm and loving congregation. This represents a homecoming for her as she returns to northern Indiana and to service in Wabash Valley, her presbytery of care. She is grateful for the care, support and assistance that members of the congregation have shown her and looks forward to learning the various aspects of pastoral ministry while bringing her experience and skills to serving this congregation over the next two years. A childhood convert to Christianity, Julia is fascinated by the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individual Christians and communities. She cannot wait to see and experience the work of the Spirit at FPCV as she gets to know and serves this congregation. When not engaged in ministry, she enjoys long walks, cooking, audiobooks, spending time with friends and family and exploring new places. 

Jeffrey Whitney, Director of Music and Digital Ministries


Jeffrey has over twenty years of experience in a variety of roles involving digital and music ministries in Washington, Wisconsin, and more recently here in Northwest Indiana in Schererville and Munster.  Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Rhonda Clark, Bell Choir Director

Rhonda Clark and her husband, Don have been married for over 44 years and have two grown sons, Jeff and Don, III.  Both of them and their wives have presented Don and Rhonda with five of the most wonderful grandchildren that they could have ever hoped or prayed for.  Cadynce, Donnie, Colbie, Damon, and Caleb have been special gifts from God.  They thank him every day for taking such good care of them all.

Rhonda was the Children's Choral Director for 24 years at First Presbyterian Church. She had the privilege over the years of seeing many children grow to become strong, confident Christians. Rhonda joins the FPC team as the Bell Choir Director and looks forward to leading in this capacity.

Rhonda retired as a member of the Aldi Team, working for the company since the Valparaiso Division opened in 1992.

Dawn Scarborough, Administrative Assistant


Dawn Scarborough has over twenty-one years of experience in the Administrative Assistant field.  June 2016 will celebrate her sixteenth year as a staff team member of First Presbyterian Church.  Her hobbies include reading and gardening.

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