Our staff is the face and voice of Northminster Presbyterian Church. From the pastor, who leads us in worship each week, to the choir director and organist, who guide us musically, to the church secretary, who greets all visitors to the church office; all are important to the life of this church.


The Rev. Dani Forbess


Dani has roots in Northern California, and her husband, Doug, is a Southern California Native.  They’ve been married 17 years, and between them both, they’ve spent a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest - so they are true West Coast hybrids.  Dani and Doug, and their three children, all spend their days working and learning in Ballard.  It is that fantastic Seattle neighborhood that has enough coffee shops to keep parents awake and is close enough to Safeco field for raising ardent baseball fans. 

Dani graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in English Literature.  She went to seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary and was awarded the Parish Pulpit Fellowship upon graduation for study in Cape Town, South Africa.  She has served churches in Berkeley; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cape Town, South Africa; Los Angeles; and Seattle.  She has served the community by acting as the local PTA secretary, serving on the board of The Well:  A Ministry of Queen Anne United Methodist, and being a founding member of Coastland Commons, a grassroots project to bring the art of worship into the local hands of the congregation.  She is fascinated by the local work of pastoral ministry and how it shapes local art and community.  And she and is passionate about bringing that work into the context of the 21st century.  
Dani accepted the call to serve Northminster Presbyterian Church in January of 2015.  The desire for Northminster to remain locally connected and committed to community service resonates with her call to ministry.  The people of Northminster are highly skilled and practiced in making the city a village and making the neighborhood a community. She is honored to serve this church as its pastor. 
Though she has a fantastic office, she believes that the real place of pastoral ministry is on the school yard, in hospitals and nursing homes, at the local bakery, and in common conversations about childhood, food, and the weather.  You can find her in and around the Ballard area, most often toting her three children to the park or the playground.

You can reach Dani at  or 206-783-3402.


Office Manager

Stacy Kern

Stacy just began as office manager.  She's in the office half time and can be reached at  or 206-783-3402



Guinevere Saenger



Choir Director

Kathryn Smith Derksen


Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA

  • M.A. in Conflict Management and Peacemaking, cum laude 1998
  • B.A. in Political Science, International Emphasis, cum laude 1993
  • B.A. in Music Composition and Performance, cum laude 1993

Kathryn has experience as a choir director in Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations as well as in her own Mennonite denomination, and has directed choirs in Uganda and Chad while serving for three years in each country as a Mennonite peace worker.

Kathryn is a free-lance musician (Viola da Gamba) and composer  She and her husband, Dan, also lived and worked in Northern Ireland. They have two sons.