About us.

First Presbyterian Church is a congregation with a deep appreciation of our history and tradition, but we are also a growing family with a tremendous sense of hope for the future. We’ve been in existence since 1884 and located at the corner of South Center and Citrus Streets in since 1912. The love that we share here is both deep and real, and everyone is welcomed at First Presbyterian Church with genuine warmth and joy.


Our members pride themselves on the fact that we do not all agree on many issues that divide people in modern culture. We believe we are stronger because we have different opinions on important subjects. We can disagree without being disagreeable!


Rev. Mario Alberto Bolivar

Pastor and Head of Staff


Mario Alberto Bolivar was born in Barranquilla [baraŋˈkiʝa] which is on the northern coast of Colombia, South America were he received his bachelor's degree in Law from the Simon Bolivar University of Colombia in 2006. Mario later graduated with his Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH in 2012. Most recently, he has completed an Executive Training in Adaptive Leadership from McCormick Seminary.

Mario was ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament on September 18, 2014, by the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery (PCUSA.)

Mario and Melissa "Mel" Bolivar were married in 2011 and together have two children. They are a bilingual family so you will hear them often speaking Spanish and English. Mario became an American Citizen in 2017 concluding his process of naturalization with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services.

In his free time, Mario enjoys working on home improvements and playing competitive slow-pitch softball. As a family, they enjoy going on day trips and discovering God’s beauty while having an adventure. Throughout the year Mario enjoys using film and technology to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We're Glad You're Here

Laurel Climo

Church Administrator

BS degree in Business, major in corporate finance and minor in business law.

My usual office hours are 11-4. I am here to serve the church-don’t be hesitant to ask

Cheryl Matthews

Church Secretary

AA degree in Business Administration with 20 years’ experience in management position.

Cindy Curtis

Director of Traditional Music

BA in Music Performance from University of Central Florida, post-graduate studies at Westminster Choir College at Princeton University

Clark Ellison

Audio Visual Coordinator

Helping the church maintaining and improving sound and visual needs for our community

Joy Holifield

Worship Leader, The Crossing

Contemporary Praise Band Leader and worship leader

Nancy MacDonald

Nursery Director

More than three decades of experience as the church's nursery director.

Richard Paul, CPA


BS degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from University of Florida

Tracy Hofmeister

Communications & Marketing

AS degree in Architectural Technology and more than 10 years experience working in Graphic Design

Brett Sutton


Two years at University of Central Florida, 34 years as self-employed stone mason

Shannon Walter

Director of Children's Ministry

Began as a volunteer and now Director of the Christian Education program and activities

Liz Smith

Youth & Family Ministry Director

Faye Thompson

Financial Secretary

25 years as computer programmer



Ruling Elders have responsibilities in several areas of the life of the church including exercise in leadership, governance, spiritual discernment, and discipline. They are brought forth to the congregation by self-nomination, or by the work of a Nominating Committee. 

The Congregation votes to chose their Ruling Elders which are Ordained and Installed in a Public Congregational Meeting. The Women and Men Installed as Ruling Elders are elected for two year terms.

Current Elders: Doris Barrell, Bob Hartman, Bernie Hebrock, John Jackson, Jessica Anderson, Bob Curry, Barbara Smith, and Kristin Whitaker.