Pastors and Staff

Aaron Carr – Lead Pastor

M. Div. Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte, NC)

B.S. in Church Ministries Clearwater Christian College (Clearwater, FL)

Aaron and his wife Amanda have three children and are both natives of the downriver area, growing up in Riverview. Returning to his roots, he has been serving at First Presbyterian of Trenton since 2005. Aaron comes to us with a vast amount of experience serving over 20 years in Church ministry in Michigan, Florida and North Carolina. His ministry experience includes serving in positions such as pastor and youth director. He has also served as a history and Bible teacher for a Christian school which allowed him to pursue his other passion, coaching. His other ministry experience includes discipling inmates in prisons & detention centers and being instrumental in starting an outreach for the Homeless in Florida.

Ian Leslie – Executive Pastor

Th.M. in New Testament Literature & Exegesis Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas,TX)

M.A. in Christian Leadership Wheaton Graduate School of Theology (Wheaton, IL)

B.A. in History & Education Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)

Ian has served as CE Director in two EPC churches, and is currently Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian of Trenton, where he has been since 1982. He also served for many years on the faculty of William Tyndale College, in the theology and history departments. Ian’s wife Debbie teaches Kindergarten at Macomb Christian Schools in Warren, and is involved in children’s ministry and the orchestra at the church. The Leslie’s make their home in Grosse Pointe Farms.


Fran Webster – Traditional Worship Director

Fran Webster grew up attending First Pres Trenton.  Her grandfather was an elder, as was her dad who was also the choir director at First Pres for many years.  She received her Bachelors of Music Education in 1968 and her Master of Arts in Education in 1970.  Both degrees were earned at Northern Michigan University where she taught for two years as a graduate assistant.  She taught in the Taylor schools for 30 years, retiring early to care for her mother.  Fran also served at a number of Downriver churches as choir director before joining the staff here in September, 2004 as our Director of Traditional Worship.

She states that this is the best job she has ever had.  She loves working with the choirs and appreciates the special rapport this staff has.  Her First Pres. family is a blessing to her and her husband, Norm.

When not working, Fran can usually be found somewhere with her face buried in a book as reading is her favorite past time.

David Menzel – Director of Contemporary Worship and Communications

David grew up serving the Lord in a Christian home, he has been involved in leading worship for nearly 15 years. After growing up in Michigan he moved around the country (and world) and has had the opportunity to lead worship in Missouri, Idaho, and Australia before returning home. He has been at First Pres since May of 2014. He has a BA in Religion.

His goal in musical worship is to help create a space where people can worship God freely though gospel-centered, theologically sound, musically engaging songs. He has also spent many years building websites and working with various multimedia resources.

David is married to Britta and has four young children.

Eli Swade – Student Ministries Director

Eli has been a Trenton native all his life. For six years, he worked under the City of Trenton’s Parks and Recreation Department. Through this, God grew his heart for the people of Trenton and for the youth in the community. He was introduced to First Pres through the student ministry when he was in 9th grade. After four years of attending youth group, he became a member of the church in 2010. His ministry experience includes running the Junior and Senior High Youth Groups, as well as serving under the church’s GOAL Sports program. With the relationships that have come from these ministries, his goal is to bear the image of Christ and attest to how God has redeemed him in hopes that others may come to have a saving relationship with Jesus.

Eli has a degree in Secondary Education from Wayne State University. He is admittedly in love with food of any kind, traveling, new cultures and languages, and Bayern Munich’s Club Soccer Team.

Jamie Barwikowski – Children’s Director

Jamie has been serving in children’s ministry for 20 years and has been on staff at First Pres since 2004. She loves working with the children and seeing the gospel through their eyes. Her favorite weeks of the year are vacation bible school and summer camp. She has also led several mission trips to Haiti and Mexico. Jamie has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University with a management major. She is married to Jerry and they have two adult children – Luke and Jacob. She loves traveling and boating.

Desiree Merkey – Administrative Assistant

Desiree grew up at First Pres. Her husband, Mark started attending in 1995 and they have been here ever since. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Calvin College and worked in the social work field for 7 years before starting at First Pres and has now been here for over 12 years.

Desiree loves her job because it is always different and fresh. She loves that she has the opportunity to serve other people as God’s hands and feet.

Watching HGTV to see how they can make trash into treasure is one of her favorite pass-times. She likes camping with her husband and has two daughters, one is married and the other just headed to college.

Judy Urbanski – Administrative Assistant

Judy started working at First Pres in August of 2000. Judy’s favorite part of her job is interacting with many wonderful people, as well as her church family. In many instances, she says, it has given her insight into her own life and how rich her family life has been over the years.


Mike Johnson – Head Custodian

Mike has been at First Pres since March of 2000. He is at the church building more than just about anyone. If you ever want to talk sports with someone, Mike is your man. He is a huge sports fan and avid golfer.