Meet Our Staff

The Rev. Dr. Kendra Grams

Pastor Kendra Grams (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. A life-long Presbyterian, Kendra credits her parents and grandparents as well as numerous pastors, colleagues, and congregants for nurturing her in Christian faith and servant leadership.

Kendra has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Hudson since 2018. She is passionate about embodying God’s expansive and welcoming love for all, following Jesus’ way of justice and peace, and leaning into the creative work of the Holy Spirit. In the wider community, Kendra serves as the Chair of the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area Anti-Racism Task Force, offers coaching as an International Coaching Federation coach in training, and moderates the River Channel’s Western Wisconsin Journal Conversations with Clergy.

Kendra previously served as Associate Pastor for Family Ministries at Potomac Presbyterian Church, in Potomac, Maryland (in suburban Washington, D.C.), where she provided overall pastoral leadership during multiple pastoral transitions; led the revitalization and expansion of children’s, youth, and family ministries; launched new mission programs; created diverse and spiritually-inspiring worship experiences; and collaborated with pastoral and lay colleagues to establish and implement a strategic vision and plan for the congregation. Kendra has also served as a pastoral intern at congregations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois; and as a chaplain at hospitals in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.

Kendra’s husband Ted Carroll (a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a high school Spanish teacher. Kendra and Ted live in North Hudson with their two children, Toby and Anika. As a family, their current passions include bike rides, coloring, building towers, singing silly songs, and reading.

Kendra holds a Bachelor of Arts from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with majors in Biology and German Studies and a minor in Religion; a Masters of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois; and a Doctorate of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Her doctoral thesis project explored how to build partnerships between congregations and social service agencies to move families caught in the cycle of intergenerational poverty toward self-sufficiency.

Jody Branson
Director of Music and Liturgical Arts

Jody Branson (she/her/hers) has served as Director of Music and Liturgical Arts at First Presbyterian since 1990. She accompanies all congregational singing and all choirs, directs the bell choir, and provides leadership for all the music and arts ministries of the congregation.

Jody is an experienced church musician having played organ, piano, and other instruments in diverse worship settings. She is also a gifted artist who cultivates Spirit-filled worship spaces using various mediums. She deeply enjoys the opportunity to nurture creative and diverse worship experiences for the congregation and draws energy from the congregation’s open embrace of worship and the arts. Jody also deeply appreciates how the congregation is welcoming of all people and supportive of the wider community.

Jody has lived in the Hudson area since 1986. In her free time, Jody loves hap-hazard gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.

Jacob Truby
Choir Director

Jacob Truby (he/him/his) joined the staff of First Pres in 2022 as Choir Director.

Jacob has taught music and choir classes in the Netherlands, Latvia, and Wisconsin (his home state) as an educator. As a conductor, Jacob has worked with professional ensembles in Europe, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and the Midwest. Prior to the five years Jacob spent teaching in Europe, Jacob was the Graduate Assistant at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, studying Choral Conducting. Jacob was fortunate to perform frequently with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Jacob was also a professional tenor at churches throughout the east coast during grad school.

Currently, in addition to serving as the choir director at First Pres, Jacob teaches music in the Maplewood, Minnesota, schools.

Cathy Harter
Office Administrator

Cathy Harter (she/her/hers) has served as the Office Administrator of First Presbyterian Church since 2009. She has multiple duties and responsibilities including church finances, producing weekly worship media, updating the website, sending out weekly notices, and assisting the pastor, committee chairs, and members as needed.

What Cathy most enjoys about her work at First Presbyterian is how everything—including her daily duties, the members and friends of the First Presbyterian family, the mission and service programs of the church, and the role of the church in the community—continually grows and changes.

Cathy grew up in River Falls and received an Associate’s Degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her work history includes business management, client services, and accounting. Her spare time is filled with gardening, home improvement projects, and watching her nine exceptional grandchildren grow.

The Rev. Lora Burge
Family & Intergenerational Ministries Coordinator

The Rev. Lora Burge (she/her/hers) is a Washington state native. She grew up on Whidbey Island at the mouth of the Puget Sound. A lifelong Presbyterian, she was baptized and grew up in the only Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) church on the island—Whidbey Presbyterian. She has studied and volunteered in Central America and Colombia, including a year as a Young Adult Volunteer. A graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, she served as a hospital chaplain in Chicago-area hospitals before coming to Minnesota to be a chaplain at the Mayo Clinic, her most recent ministry position.  When not at work, Lora is a creative soul and loves to tinker on glass mosaic and painting projects.  She also enjoys the outdoors and likes to hike, bike, swim and ski in season. She and her partner, Mae, live in Rochester with their four cats.

Brian Biaccio
Audio-Visual Operator-Technician

Brian Ciaccio (he/him/his) joined the staff of First Pres in November 2023 as our Audio-Visual Operator-Technician.

Brian is a Live Streaming Producer from St. Paul, Minnesota. With a degree from Columbia College Chicago in Television Production, he started his career by working with Oprah at Harpo Studios, American Idol, and the Lifetime Network. As he ventured into the realm of live stream production, he rose to the role of live producer and established himself as a skilled creator of both live and virtual content. Presently, Brian applies his expertise during the week as a television production technician at Hubbard Broadcasting, while also dedicating his time to creating analog video glitch art with the 100bees and playing synth keys in the local band Echoes at Midnight. His true passion lies in uniting diverse individuals to craft impactful experiences that make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Brian Ciaccio

Now hiring!!!
Nursery Attendant

We’re seeking a Nursery Attendant to support our worshipping community by providing safe, nurturing, dependable care to young children during worship (and special events as requested). Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Learn more, including how to apply >>

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