After 20 years of serving the Lord our pastor retired in September 2016.

A Transition Team (Interim Pastor Nominating Committee) was established by the Session in August 2016. Its members are Joan Davies, Donna Flagg, Sami Eliya, Jessica Strader, and Craig Walters.  After many months of dedicated searching, we are pleased to announce Rev. Bruce Ballantine will be our new Interim Minister starting April1, 2017.  Please join us for Worship at 10:00 AM and bear witness to this democratic "Presbyterian Process" and be one of the first to welcome a new Pastor to First Pres!

Prior to coming to Ridgewood, Rev. Ballantine has served as an installed or interim pastor in Oakmont and Burgettstown, PA; Weirton, WV; Wellsville, Youngstown and Wooster, OH; and most recently, in Morrisville, PA.  Bruce has sensed in recent years that God has called him to specialize in interim ministry. In his own words, “I believe God has wired me to be an Interim Pastor. I am energized by meeting new people, entering into new situations and meeting new challenges. I enjoy working with congregations during seasons of change, and I look forward to working with and serving the members and friends of First Pres!”

As Bruce begins his service to First Presbyterian Church, it is the fifth time he has served as an Interim Pastor.  He is a graduate of Grove City College, Grove City, PA, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His experience within the Presbyterian Church (USA) includes ordination as a Deacon and Elder (prior to entering seminary); serving as the Pittsburgh Presbytery 1992 World Mission Intern in Zomba, Malawi; serving as a Theological Student Advisory Delegate to the 1993 General Assembly; as well as service on a number of presbytery committees and commissions.

In February 2020, Bruce accepted a call to become a Pastor/Head of Staff at First Pres.


Prior to entering ministry, Bruce worked as a reporter-photographer for a small newspaper; as a portrait photographer for a pictorial church directory company; and as a sales representative, sales manager and branch manager for an insurance company.

He spends his free time working out and walking; hiking, canoeing and kayaking; and reading fiction and non-fiction. His favorite authors include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eugene Peterson, Frederick Buechner, Anne Lamott, Philip Yancey, Ann Weems, Barbara Brown Taylor, Barbara Kingsolver, Edwidge Danticat, Michael Connelly and John Grisham.


We are blessed with the following Session members:

Ruling Elders:

Andy Castaldi (Finance) (Personnel)

Richard Davies (Endowment)

Carola Di Iorio  (Worship and Arts)

Sami Eliya (Growth/Hospitality) (Technology)

Donna Flagg (Nominating) (Mission)

Rick Friedl (Finance)

Anita Hutton (Nominating) (Nursery School)

Laura Magrath (Endowment)

Suzy McDevitt 

Linda Strickland (Christian Education)

Sandy Santangelo (Growth/Hospitality)

Craig Walters (Property)

Clerk of Session:

Joan Davies


Deacons support the church and its membership in a variety of ways, particularly in serving those in need both within and beyond the community of faith.  Each Deacon serves an assigned geographic section of members in addition to his or her general responsibilities.  Deacons work on one or more of the following standing committees: Care, Communion, Flowers, Reception and Junior Deacons.  They also serve regularly as lay readers, communion servers, greeters and ushers and contribute to the church’s Caring Cooks Ministry. 

For 2019-2020, the active Deacons are:  

Kathleen Barkho, Joanne Bonwick, Bonnie Brooks,  Linda Cascadro, Janie dear, Sue Dickinson,                                                      Diane Eliya, John Eliya, Sue Fischer, Robert Morris, Victoria Schnure, Mary Shaw, Sue Sofka, 

Christine Tobias (Moderator), Britt Tunick,  Nancy Walters  


Please see attached brochure here.