April 2008 Dear Commissioner or Advisory Delegate to the 218th General Assembly (2008): Greetings to you from the

Office of the General Assembly. To date, four individuals have been endorsed by their respective presbyteries to be a candidate for Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008). This letter is being sent to you to detail the process for the election of the Moderator, as well as provide you with information from the candidates. Election of the Moderator The Manual of the General Assembly (Standing Rule H.1.b) provides direction for the election of the Moderator as follows: 1. Each person nominated to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly must be a commissioner to the General Assembly. Action by presbyteries to endorse candidates for Moderator of the General Assembly shall not take place until after the adjournment of the immediately preceding assembly. The Office of the General Assembly shall provide resourcing and orientation for Moderatorial candidates. 2. Ordinarily, no later than forty-five days prior to the convening of the assembly, the Moderatorial candidates will announce the name of a commissioner each has selected to offer to the assembly to confirm as Vice Moderator. 3. The following campaign procedures shall be observed: a. Candidates should budget campaign spending of no more than $1,500, excluding travel and meeting expenses related to their candidacy. Each candidate shall submit to the Stated Clerk an itemized statement of expenses, including travel and meeting expenses related to his/her candidacy and in kind contributions. This statement shall be submitted to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly prior to the convening of the General Assembly. This information shall be distributed to commissioners and advisory delegates prior to the election of the Moderator. The statement of expenses of all candidates shall be kept on file in the Office of the General Assembly following the meeting of the General Assembly. The Office of the General Assembly shall not reimburse a candidate for campaign expenses, but shall assume expenses involved in printing and distributing material submitted for information packets as outlined in Standing Rule H.1.b.(3)(e). In order to encourage reliance on the leading of the Holy Spirit in the selection of the Moderator, no candidate shall send a mailing of any campaign materials,

b.

c. d. e.

print or electronic, to commissioners and/or advisory delegates or permit such a mailing to be sent, nor shall candidates or their advocates contact commissioners and/or advisory delegates by telephone. Distribution of written campaign materials at General Assembly outside of the candidate’s room shall be limited to printed materials placed in mailboxes. On the day of the convening of the General Assembly, the Stated Clerk shall provide a room for each candidate where commissioners and advisory delegates may meet and talk with the candidate. Not less than fifteen days before the convening of the General Assembly, the Stated Clerk shall publish for commissioners and advisory delegates an electronic information packet containing the following material regarding each candidate for Moderator who is known to the Stated Clerk and who wishes to be included: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) A photograph, a biographical sketch, a personal statement by the candidate that includes a statement regarding the candidate’s sense of call to the office, A written presentation by the presbytery having jurisdiction over the candidate, if that governing body has endorsed the candidate, An announcement of the commissioner each candidate has selected to be presented to the assembly for confirmation as Vice Moderator if the candidate is elected, The responses of the candidate to a questionnaire developed by the Stated Clerk.

The layouts for the presentation under this standing rule (as outlined above) may be chosen by the candidates, but all material including photographs submitted for each presentation shall be provided in electronic format as well as print. The material shall be submitted to the Stated Clerk no less than forty-five days before the convening of the General Assembly for reproduction and distribution, and shall be accompanied by a statement indicating the willingness of the candidate to serve as Moderator, if elected. Each proposed Vice-Moderator candidate who wishes to be included may send biographical information and a photograph in electronic format. 4. The Moderator of the General Assembly shall be elected in the following manner: a. When the General Assembly is ready to elect its Moderator, only one speech shall be made placing in nomination the name of each nominee. The speech shall be made by a commissioner to the General Assembly. Such speech shall not exceed five minutes in length. There shall be no speeches seconding the nomination of any nominee. The order of speaking shall be determined by lot, the drawing conducted by the most recent Moderator attending the General Assembly. After nominations are closed, each nominee shall be afforded an opportunity to address the General Assembly for a time not to exceed five minutes, expressing

b.

c.

d.

the concerns that nominee feels to be the most important for the church. The nominees shall speak in the same order as the presentation of nominating speeches. At the conclusion of all the presentations by the nominees, they shall respond to questions from the floor. The first question shall be addressed to the nominee who spoke first in the original presentation, and the same question shall then be put to the other nominees in the same order in which they spoke earlier. The second question shall be directed to the second nominee in this order and then to each of the other nominees in sequence. Each nominee shall be afforded an opportunity to answer each question. This process shall continue for a period not to exceed the number of nominees times fifteen minutes, or for one hour, whichever is shorter, unless terminated earlier by vote of the General Assembly. Where there is only one nominee for Moderator, the election may be by acclamation. Where there is more than one, the election may be by secret ballot in one of the following ways: (i) Each commissioner shall vote by means of an electronic voting system. The Stated Clerk shall advise the Moderator of the totals. The Moderator shall announce the result of the vote as tabulated. If no nominee has received a majority of the whole vote, another vote shall be taken in the same manner. When one nominee shall have received a majority, the Moderator shall announce the result and declare the nominee to be elected. If the assembly votes to use paper ballots, the Stated Clerk shall provide ballots and assign no fewer than ten commissioners to act as tellers, collecting and counting the ballots. The results shall be given to the Stated Clerk who shall report the totals to the Moderator who shall announce them to the assembly

(ii)

In order to implement item 3(e)(iv) above, we submitted questions to each of the persons who has been endorsed for Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008). The candidates’ answers are on the following pages. Also reproduced in this booklet is the material we have received pertaining to each candidate. The material is listed in alphabetical order and includes the name, photograph, and one-page biography for the commissioner each candidate has selected for Vice-Moderator. For your information, each candidate has been assigned space in the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, CA, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 20, 2008, and again at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 21, 2008, to meet commissioners and advisory delegates. Cordially yours,

Clifton Kirkpatrick Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES FOR MODERATOR OF THE 218th GENERAL ASSEMBLY (2008) PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.)
Using no more than 500 words for each response, please answer any five (5) of the following ten questions. 1. Our church’s Ecumenical Vision Statement reminds us that, “The unity of the Church is both God’s real gift and God’s effective calling.” How would you work for unity within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and how would this contribute to the unity we seek with other churches and Christian communities? 2. The 208th General Assembly (1996) affirmed the goal of increasing racial ethnic membership to 10 percent by the year 2005, and to 20 percent by the year 2010. How do you assess the Presbyterian Church’s progress toward the fulfillment of this goal and what would you do during your moderatorial term to move the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) closer to realizing or exceeding this goal? 3. The General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations held a Consultation on the Ecumenical Stance of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and identified ten priorities for our ecumenical commitment in the next ten years. What do you understand to be the greatest ecumenical challenge and ecumenical resource before the church in the next decade? 4. The General Assembly will be asked to act on a proposal to take the first step toward adding the Belhar Confession to The Book of Confessions. How do you think this addition to The Book of Confessions would impact the confessional and spiritual life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)? 5. What suggestions do you have for identifying new directions for partnership between congregations, presbyteries, seminaries, and the General Assembly in preparation for ordained ministry? 6. In what new ways can the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations place a focus on ministry to and with youth and young adults to ensure a church for future generations? 7. What is your sense of where God is leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at this time in its history? 8. What should be the role of the Moderator during times of deep disagreements in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) about matters of faith and practice? 9. We are living in a war-torn world. What might the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations do to strengthen its ministry of peacemaking at this time? 10. The Form of Government Task Force was created by the 217th General Assembly (2006) to propose a revised polity that would be more flexible, more foundational, and more appropriate for a missional Reformed Church in the 21st century. What do you think about these proposals?

Carl Mazza
Pastor / Director, Meeting Ground
A faith community and partnership with and among persons and families who are experiencing homelessness or living at the margins.

www.carlmazza.org www.meetingground.org
Carl Mazza is a Presbyterian Minister, who has served since 1982 as Pastor / Director of Meeting Ground in Cecil County, Maryland, a ministry which he founded. The focus is on the building or relationships and community with and among all who come: we all sit at the same table. Meeting Ground offers friendship, worship, Bible study and prayer, emergency and transitional housing, meals and an extensive support network to end homelessness in the lives of all who come. Meeting Ground is a faith community. It has been a strongly supported mission cause of New Castle Presbytery for over 25 years. Hundreds of Presbyterian Churches from various parts of the country have participated in the mission trip program, as have scores of Presbyterian college and seminary interns. Family and Education - Born December 22, 1946 Philadelphia, PA - Joined the Presbyterian Church in 1963 - Married Marsha Young on June 10, 1973 - Father of Alessandra (28) and Kristen (20) • M.Div. - Princeton Theological Seminary • B.A. - Nyack College, Nyack NY • Graduate - Moody Bible Institute, Chicago IL
Professional • Founder - Pastor / Director of Meeting Ground 1982 - Present • Stated Supply Pastor - First Presbyterian Church, Chesapeake City, MD 1985 - 1989

• Interim Pastor - Calvary Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DE 1981 - 1982 • Pastor - Christ Presbyterian Church, Springfield, MA 1978 - 1981 • Ordained into ministry of Word & Sacrament, Hudson River Presbytery, 1978 Service to Church and Community N Board of Directors, National Coalition for the Homeless N Organizing Task Force of the Speer Trust, New Castle Presbytery N Member of the Speer Trust Commission N Mission Committee N Peacemaking Task Force N Commissioner to Synod of Mid-Atlantic N Member, Cecil County MD Homeless Collaborative N Founding Partner, Cecil County Men’s Shelter N Founding Partner, Elkton Community Kitchen N Founding Partner, Friendship House, Wilmington, DE N Founding Partner, BorderLinks, Tucson, AZ Meeting Ground Accomplishments • Provided 500,000 bed-nights of emergency and transitional housing in 27 years of ministry • From an all-volunteer partnership to an extensive program of 5 unique locations with a budget of $800,000, over a thousand volunteers, and in-kind donations of goods and services of $750,000 / yr. • Hosted over 600 mission trips

CARL MAZZA: PERSONAL STATEMENT
I was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1946. My family background is Italian from the neighborhood in south Philadelphia. My early home life was insecure and troubled, and I learned early on and firsthand the raw needs of the community I serve in my ministry. It was through Presbyterian Mission that I was introduced to a living God. My first exposure to Presbyterians was as a teenager, having been homeless, angry and alienated. A group of young people, their youth leader, and a dedicated pastor befriended me - their witness and love introduced me to a warm and vibrant personal faith in God through Jesus Christ. I owe a great debt of love to these persons, and to Trinity Presbyterian Church, Clifton Heights PA, the congregation which nurtured all of us. In my ministry I have tried to return to the church, and to others who are experiencing alienation and homeless, the same blessing of hope which was extended to me in my need. I can offer a unique perspective on the importance of mission and evangelism - it is a deeply rooted part of my heart and my personal faith journey. My zeal to witness led me to New York City when I was 16, and I worked at St. Paul's House, a mission in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan youth and family ministry and street evangelism. We also welcomed homeless folk for meals and fellowship. I entered Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, from which I graduated with a diploma in Biblical studies and Christian Education. I completed my college work at Nyack College (NY), graduating in 1974. I met and fell in love with Marsha Young there. Our first date was speaking together at a street meeting in Manhattan! We were married in 1973, and Marsha has been my partner in ministry at Meeting Ground from the beginning. Our daughter Alessandra was born in 1979, and Kristen in 1988. While at Nyack I served as worship assistant at the Ramapo Presbyterian Church, Hillburn, NY. The congregation strongly urged me to seek further education and training for ministry, and I entered Princeton Seminary, graduating in 1978. I was ordained in Hudson River Presbytery at Harrison (NY) Presbyterian Church, where I had served as a summer intern. This congregation gave me strong encouragement to enter the ordained ministry. Their friendship and love guided me through days of doubt to a sure footing of knowing I was called. The call of my life is to serve in pastoral ministry with and among persons who are homeless or otherwise marginal and alienated. When I graduated from Princeton, I could not find a model of this needed ministry to which I felt such a powerful leading. I accepted a position as pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Springfield, MA. This was a struggling congregation to which I came as a part-time stated supply in 1978 and left as a full-time installed pastor in 1981. I loved the ministry there, but my desire to do a new form of parish was too strong to ignore. In June, 1981 we moved to Maryland and worked with others to begin the community and ministry of Meeting Ground where I continue to serve as Pastor. Meeting Ground brings together persons from all walks of life to sit together at one table, learning from and with each other. Our partnership is with and among persons and families experiencing homelessness. The joy and glory of our fellowship is our table, at which it is common to find a mayor or congressperson, judge or academic sharing a meal and conversation with a homeless teen or a single mother. . The wonder of our ministry is that God, in Jesus, sits at table with us. The power of redemption has never failed us, nor the promise of our Lord: Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

A CALL TO SERVE

I

broadly, making eye-contact with excited t started with a phone call in August, 2006. energy... like a kid happy to be home. A woman in our community, who has struggled with homelessness since her She was sharing the grandeur of redemption. childhood, called in anguish to tell me that our The small attentions of kind people, words of local government had just bulldozed a homeless care and light, loving touch – even the simple camp in the woods behind a shopping center, assurance of shelter in a church hallway – had loading their possessions into a dump truck. One moved her deeply, and she found hope alive man, a disabled veteran, pleaded to be able just again. In the warmth of her smile and grateful to retrieve the only picture of his late mother embrace she spoke all this reassuringly to me as and was threatened with arrest if he tried. if I were the one in need, as indeed I was. We Identity cards, letters, and clothes were trashed needed her. along with Bibles and blankets. It was cruel response to complaints that the homeless were taking food from Together we were church – Together we were church – nearby dumpsters. confirmed through the beauty confirmed through the beauty of a living sanctuary of gathered of a living sanctuary of souls, and the awareness of The incident was so shocking, gathered souls, and the God’s presence, pressed dearly that even churches who had little awareness of God’s in human relationship, revealed commitment to mission were presence, pressed dearly in almighty power – though we moved to respond. Meeting in human relationship were 2, 3, or 20 gathered, in our Ground was asked to organize midst. I am compelled to know the overwhelming desire of this as a new and vigorous churches of every denomination moving of God’s Spirit in the Church, and I across the county to open their doors to those long to be part of this stirring. who had been so treated. Churches who had never considered justice as an issue of faith began to advocate for persons they now knew The role of Moderator is pastor and servantby name. It was a movement of the Spirit which guide to the General Assembly as it seeks its dazzled us in its possibility for the Church. heart and voice. It is also to share the voice of this body with the Church over the next two The call to stand for Moderator began to take years. I stand in the hope and desire that our hold of my soul on a winter night when I walked Assembly will be open to the fire of the Holy into a church fellowship-hall-turned-shelter. An Spirit. It can be that the very hush of God, in older woman arrived with nothing more than the singular mercy, will inspire us together to: clothes on her back. Bent over and sullen, she was bewildered, ragged, sick, and withdrawn. ! Bring us to respect and honor each She had been “shipped” in a taxi from a church other in love, different as we are and hope to be, 70 miles away. She needed us. and open us to the authentic space of relationship and dialogue among ourselves and Shelter volunteers befriended her and did what with the world. they could to help, including getting her into a hospital for emergency treatment. When she ! Create among us a “new thing,” returned, I went over to greet her and reached confirming a revival of that great spirit of out to shake her hand, but she instead flung out mission and justice in a desperate world, her arms and bear-hugged me with gusto. Even discovering in our vulnerability and need a most though quiet-natured, she talked and smiled amazing grace and unity.

Question 1. Our church's Ecumenical Vision Statement reminds us that, "The unity of the Church is both God's real gift and God's effective calling." How would you work for unity within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and how would this contribute to the unity we seek with other churches and Christian communities? Answer 1. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one ... that the world may believe that you have sent me.
- John 17:20-21

Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. - 1 John 3:17-18

I believe the key to this question is first to ask: Why should we work for unity?
Jesus makes clear in his prayer that unity is necessary to accomplish our mission – witnessing to the truth of the Gospel and to the power of Jesus own ministry. Thirst for unity must come from a desire to do mission in the world. I would work together with all for unity motivated by our passion for proclaiming the Gospel and our strong and urgent need to be deeply engaged in Christ-centered mission. This unity is highly important in the work of Meeting Ground, as we work together with scores of churches from many denominations. We work diligently for this “one-ness” for the sake of the energetic ministry we serve together, often bridging deep differences in theology and practice. Unity can be difficult, even impossible, if the emphasis is on the nuances of doctrine, culture. and tradition which separate us. Yet, if the reason for our unity is the passion of our work together in mission, the differences become a basis for strength. Real unity is only accomplished in the formation of personal relationships, and venues for dialogue, across lines that historically have divided. I was at a church dinner, when one of the pastors whose congregation is part of our rotating winter shelter leaned over to tell me an amazing thing: “We are hosting our week with the church across the street from us,” he said, “in 200 years of mutual history we can’t recall a single project in which our two churches have ever worked together. Now we are partners in mission to provide hospitality and fellowship to folks we both care about so much. It’s remarkable!” Doing mission together seals or unity as a community in Jesus. The tools are the same, whether among Presbyterians or ecumenically: • Active listening, hearing others • Build candid, open, caring relationships with persons different from ourselves • Discover together a new understanding of who Jesus is, among and with us • Innovative mission toward the building of new community in the world • Sacred space, a place of safety and togetherness to speak from our hearts in whole terms

Question 5. What suggestions do you have for identifying new directions for partnership between congregations, presbyteries, seminaries and the General Assembly in preparation for ordained ministry? Answer 5. As a young minister, my strong call to serve as a pastor to persons who are homeless, outcast and marginal in our society, and not connected to the church. I had to gather people, find support, and establish a new community – there were few venues for a person who had my desire. In my 27 years of this ministry I have had the privilege of coming to know many persons who have similar calls – a heart to serve in ministry which is beyond the traditional parish. Yet, the opportunities for this kind of pastoral service remain scarce. In this assembly, we commissioners will be asked to approve recommendations of the 2year study of The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, “From Homelessness To Hope: Constructing Just, Sustainable Communities For All God's People.” In this study: The church is called to create communities of hospitality that assure all members of society, including persons experiencing homelessness, a right to basic economic and social well-being, including safe, affordable housing. It is my hope we will not just approve the document, but carry its spirit and challenge home in our hearts to our congregations and Presbyteries. Congregations are especially important in this direction. A grassroots movement is rapidly emerging that is calling churches and individuals who take seriously the mandates of Scripture, and the call of Jesus, to proclaim the good news to the poor and to love and establish justice. This missional movement calls for new leadership with the skills to organize and lead innovative, new Christian communities – not just to serve soup and services, but to serve God to one another and to the whole church. Developing and supporting this leadership will call all judicatories to work together with seminaries and congregations. Radical change, that which restores our roots, won’t happen unless we act to make it happen. This requires an intentional development and spiritual formation of our next generation of leaders: pastors and mission workers skilled in promoting the growth of community in new and innovative ways: • Ministry that is evangelistic, Christ-centered, and creative in focusing on relationships, and developing forms and structures for community which is centered in this • Ministry that is multi-cultural and brings persons together for strength in their diversity • Ministry that builds community and partnership with and among persons who are poor and struggling at the margins of our society • Ministry that draws a faith community together around “righteous action,” making a difference in neighborhood and the world

Question 6. In what new ways can the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations place a focus on ministry to and with youth and young adults to ensure a church for future generations? Answer 6. At this critical time in our history, our youth and young adults offer indispensable insight as we move into the future. Are we as the Church prepared to change as we accept their leadership, though it radically challenges and alters our forms of worship, life-style and time-honored practices? Special focus on developing their leadership is a high priority for the Church. Our young members place strong emphasis on results, on faith that leads to real action which makes a difference in the world. In our ministry with Meeting Ground, we share life and work with several hundred Presbyterian youth every year through our mission trip program. These dedicated young people give us a week or more of their vacation time to do mission with and among persons experiencing homelessness. They are far more likely to move past and through our social and theological barriers – inspiring, leading, and giving us hope for the future of our Church. One of our homeless residents was an older woman with a serious mental illness. A lifetime of hurt had left her angry, isolated and deeply disturbed. She resented professional helpers, counselors and especially the church, by which she felt betrayed and abandoned. We couldn’t reach her, though we longed to help. One evening I was startled to find her in the dining hall laughing and talking happily. She was washing dishes together with a 15-year-old girl from the visiting mission group. This young evangelist had taken an interest, made contact, formed a spiritual and genuine relationship, and found a path to the woman’s soul which we had not before imagined possible. She created “church,” and spiritual communion where she was. Like this young woman, our young members can offer the Church a breakthrough of vision, a fresh new creative spark of an emerging generation: New ways of addressing stubborn dilemmas. So many of our present problems as a Church, including those that our precipitating our record membership losses, are at a logjam, seeming insoluble. We are also a Church whose median age is 58 years for members and elders, and we are trending older. Transforming our way of being church is not an option, it is an imperative. If elected Moderator I will do the following: ! Working together with all, I will strongly encourage our youth by attending their gatherings as a priority, emphasizing Bible study, Christian discipleship, and innovative mission. I will especially visit churches and places where young people are actively involved in doing mission. ! I will work together with young leadership to engage our ways of being a church, emphasizing the need for candid, authentic, and sincere building of relationships and seeking communion among us as a people. Also to help the Church to put all forms, traditions, and ways on the table, and to take what is best and meaningful as the basis of new ways of being church and doing mission.

Question 7. What is your sense of where God is leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at this time in its history? Answer 7. I believe we must continue courageously to move forward toward our own roots. Specifically we should challenge ourselves and the larger Christian community by reclaiming our historic energy in creative, Christ-centered mission. " We are called to align our values and obey the radical [rooted] challenge in our Book of Order: The Church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life, trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ. [G-3.0400]. " Our model is Jesus, who built authentic and loving relationships with and among diverse followers, welcoming all persons as they were and trusting that by being in his company their lives would be forever transformed. " Building loving, justice-centered community through our work in the world is what speaks most loudly. We are called to model justice, as the Gospel requires, in our personal lives and in our church. " God is at work in the world through Jesus, and through us – this is the unique gift we offer to humankind. Establishing justice in the world begins with us as individuals and congregations. manifesting the truth of our gospel in lifestyle-witness, “prayer and righteous action. On a night last winter at our rotating church shelter we were gathered in a circle for grace before supper. An eleven-year-old girl, homeless with her family, asked to pray. She spoke vibrantly, not in church-words but in most sincere heart: “Thanks, God that we have a place to sleep and food, and for the nice people here, and that’s about all I can think of... I’ll say good-bye for now, but I’ll be talking to you later before I go to sleep.” It was the simple and warm prayer of a young girl who conversed with God as if it were the very hand she held next to hers. We had a half dozen denominations represented in the room, and some strong theological differences among us, but as we looked up from her prayer there were few dry eyes. This child had literally taken us by her hand to the abode of God. In that moment we shared a commonality that we were being loved. It felt good. But more than anything, it made us experience one another in the vulnerability of what it is to be human, and if only for a brief moment, to understand our unity not through common opinion, but through the fragile and tender nature that we share together, so powerful in its claim upon our hearts and so infinite in its possibility to turn our world upside down. Maybe, in her young soul, she knew the meaning of Paul’s great desire: For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is our choice: To move into our future, rooting ourselves in the values of Christ among us.

Question 9. We are living in a war-torn world. What might the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations do to strengthen its ministry of peacemaking at this time? Answer 9. Martin Luther King’s prophetic words continue to speak vigorously to the church in today’s world: True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.... We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear... Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. There is a lot of talk in our world today, and a lot of anger. There is also a rising conviction that no one is listening to words anymore, only in what is done is there clarity and conviction. The faith that will be alive and effective is that which will make its creed real in action and lived values. - Our strength in peacemaking is that which is done by congregations as evangelism and the direct fulfillment of our mission to share the gospel. Our model of evangelism is the parable of the Good Samaritan – 14 separate acts of mercy, all done without words to an individual in dire need. Further, the parable raises key questions of social justice and its requirement as a response to violence. Our individual actions create peace, and their effect tends outward like ripples on a pond to change neighborhood and culture. Strengthening our ministry of peacemaking begins with educating ourselves to do peacemaking as an extension of congregational life: • Doing peacemaking that brings congregations into community and personal relationship in a context of economic, cultural, and ethnic diversity. Mission that centers on“meeting,” building “neighborhood,” and promoting dialogue among all participants. We all sit at the same table in ministry one to another. • Doing peacemaking in a way that transforms us all. In the words of sister Lila Watson:"If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." Last summer a Presbyterian inter-generational mission group came to Meeting Ground to paint a building. At lunchtime I noticed that “Joey,” an eight-year-old boy in shelter with his mother and sisters, was covered with paint. He had been described as “deeply troubled” by the social worker who made the referral to us – not surprising given the chaos of his broken family, homeless and struggling. Proudly, he announced to everyone that he had to eat lunch fast because “they needed him to paint.” His confidence was a mile high. That morning, the Presbyterians had seen him standing alone, and called him to help. As they guided his brush they came to know him, and he them. As he got covered with paint, so he learned the way of peace. It changed his life. Not to say that all is instantly well. He still faces major hurtles in life. But these peacemakers had shared with him the gift ineffable which is the hope of the world, one dear and precious life at a time. It is our call, and our mandate.

THE PRESBYTERY OF SAN FRANCISCO
SYNOD OF THE PACIFIC PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.)

January 16, 2008 The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 100 Witherspoon Street Louisville, KY 40202-1396 Dear Cliff, It is with great pleasure that I inform you that at last night's meeting of the Presbytery of San Francisco, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, was enthusiastically and overwhelmingly endorsed to stand for election as Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008). In doing so, the Presbytery celebrates and lifts up one of its own. Bruce grew up in the Presbyterian family; he is a son of the Church. He knows and loves our Reformed tradition, yet sees the fresh ways that our tradition is being called to new vistas of ministry and mission in today's world. Bruce is the founding pastor of the Mission Bay Community Church, and his passions in ministry are clearly evident in his service. He shares the good news of Jesus Christ through a welcoming hospitality to those unchurched and overchurched, and he leads an engaging ministry that addresses the real needs of people on the streets of San Francisco and beyond. The unified support of liberal, moderate, and conservative ministers and elders is a testament to Bruce's proven ability to bridge the theological divide, and the high regard and trust they have of him. In addition to the extensive leadership and vision he shares with us in San Francisco, Bruce has been active at all levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), offering considerable leadership in areas of youth and young adult ministries, strategies for church growth, and the church ecumenical. (To learn more about Bruce, visit: www.mod.reyeschow.com and Facebook community, "Bruce Reyes-Chow for PC(USA) Moderator".) Bruce is a committed husband and father of three beautiful daughters. His immediate and extended families, and his Presbytery family are united in desiring Bruce to serve our beloved Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as Moderator. We pray that it may be so. Sincerely,

Rev. Katherine J. Runyeon, Stated Clerk cc: Ms. Joyce Evans, Assistant to the Stated Clerk and General Assembly Moderator
kjr/nop

2024 Durant Avenue

Berkeley, California 94704

(510) 849-4393

(510) 849-4398 (fax)

www.sfpresbytery.com

REV. BRUCE REYES-CHOW
pastor dad techie follower of christ, and candidate for moderator NURTURED BY THE PAST EMBRACING THE FUTURE
What does it mean to be Presbyterian today? Do we matter? Are we bringing the world into a closer understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ in any significant way? Should we place any energy into ensuring there is a Presbyterian Church for future generations? If so, why? If so, how? These are the some of the questions that we need to answer because, honestly, we are wandering. We are wandering and we are tired. We are tired of the fighting, tired of the blaming and tired of living in a church that is filled with fear of the unknown and worship of the past. This may seem harsh, but we have seen the results. In the face of this reality, some grasp onto perceived power and influence, some stay off the radar and others simply give up and walk away. The world around us is chaotic and anxious enough. When the place we turn to for peace of heart mind and spirit does not provide the calm and comfort promised in Christ, we feel lost. Worse yet, while we sit in the midst of our own inner turmoil, the world is in pain, and we are unable to do anything about it. But there is a movement of hope in our church. I am fully convinced that the PC(USA) is in a time of joy-filled transformation. People are excited about ministry, they are engaged in the mission field and folks are committing their lives to the calling of Christ with great passion, thoughtfulness and optimism. With this growing energy and excitement, it is important that the PC(USA) find ways to effectively seek out, nurture and support these movements. This task will require us to let go of a great many things from our past, hold onto that which is good and embrace the transformational new life that may be in our future. No one knows what the PC(USA) will look like in the future, but if elected moderator, I commit to instigate, encourage and support those interactions and movements that will help us discover what that future may be. Most importantly, I commit to doing this together, which, after all, is the Presbyterian way.

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future

ABOUT BRUCE
An ordained minister since 1995, I am a 38 year-old Northern California native and the founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, a new church development of San Francisco Presbytery. My first call was as the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, also in San Francisco. My formative years were spent in Sacramento and Stockton where I was raised by a close family and church village. I am the grandson of Filipino and Chinese immigrants and my home church is Trinity Presbyterian Church in Stockton. Through my family and my church I was taught the importance of tradition and heritage, service and social justice and shown the imperative to live one’s life with a deep sense of gratitude for the reconciling nature of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In 1990 I graduated from San Francisco State University with a special major in Asian American Studies, Sociology, and Religion. I graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1995. Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege of serving at all levels of Presbyterian Church (USA). I have also had great opportunities to provide leadership at a variety of events and conferences. I have lived in San Francisco for the past 20 years with my wife, Elder Robin Pugh, and three daughters, Evelyn (11), Abigail (7), and Analise (4). My free time is filled with hanging out in cafes, cheering on the awesome Oakland Athletics and riding my motorcycle whenever I get a chance. I have even been known to blog and hang out on Facebook on occasion ;-)

SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS
General Assembly Highlights  Member, Young Urban Pastors Gathering, Present  Vice-Chair, National Asian Presbyterian Council, 1998  Advisor, General Assembly Youth Advisory Delegates, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002  Delegate, National Council of Churches General Assembly, 1997  Member, GA Church Growth Strategy Team, 1995  Member, Committee on Higher Education (COHE), 1991  Youth Advisory Delegate, GA, 1990 Presbytery Highlights  Member, Presbytery Executive Search Committee  Member, Strategic Review Comm.  Member, Healthy Congregations  Chair, Urban Strategy Team  Chair, Congregational Mission Study Team Global Highlights  Delegation to Cuba, 1989  Delegation to Nicaragua 1990

LETS KEEP TALKING
In the next few pages, I answer a few questions that will help you get to know me. I have arranged them in a way that I think moves through a progression of knowing who we are to who we may become. I also hope my responses give you some insight into the kinds of conversations that would take place during my term as moderator should that be what God has in store for us all. Please feel free to eMail me [breyeschow@gmail.com] or comment on my blog [www.reyes-chow.com]. FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future

WHO ARE WE?

traditions, heritage and beliefs, in a way that does not demand worship of What is your sense of where God is our past, but allows us to remember leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at that our common past is what this time in its history? provides the foundations for God’s Contrary to much that is being transforming Spirit to be unleashed. said, I believe that denominational We will only be able to move into health is crucial to the future of the these conversations if we make the church and culture at large and that sacred space in which to have them. we are in a pivotal time in our life. We must create space where we can Unfortunately, the focus of our energy speak the truth in love and can share is being placed upon winning and who we are without fear of hostility losing issues; we are ignoring the and retribution. Then we can begin to realities of a shifting find those places within world to our own each of us that must be . . . we are forgetting how detriment. We are submitted to God for the to gather together as forgetting how to good of the greater gather together as people yearning for church and the people yearning for relationships with a movement of the Spirit. relationships with a common belief in the life Though these ideas common belief in the death and resurrection of may seem lofty, overly life, death and hopeful and even naive, Jesus Christ as the resurrection of Jesus it is clear that there is a foundation and center of Christ as the movement. The PC(USA) our faith and community. foundation and center is seeing conversations of our faith and about these shifts all community. around us. Assumptions about With that said I believe now is the structure, leadership, mission and the time for the PC(USA) to confront these very nature of being church in today's realities and unashamedly move culture are being challenged all towards a new day and new life. around us. I believe that we are ready It is time to embrace the chaos and to bring this discourse out into the ambiguity of the day with a solid open and grapple with the difficult belief that it is through a centered questions and realities that are being walk with Christ that we find peace of raised. Only through embracing these mind, body and spirit for ourselves kinds of transparent, honest and and for the world. This is not the time authentic interactions can we discover to legislate our way into unity, but to and discern our future together. engage in the difficult work of These are the kinds of interactions building relationships that are not that we must have as a denomination about convincing and persuading but if we are to move beyond an inward rather about the authentic discovery focus on “How will we save ourselves?” of the voice of Christ within one to an outward focus on, another. Now is the time to embrace “How will we serve God?” where we have been together: our rich FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future

WHO ARE WE BECOMING?

young people and they will flood into the church. In what new ways can the Presbyterian Upholding tradition is not bad, Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations place but upholding tradition for a focus on ministry to and with youth and tradition’s sake is sure isn’t good. young adults to ensure a church for future One of the mistakes we make is to generations? assume young folks do not value First we must decide if we truly wish tradition, ritual and heritage. Tradition to be a church for future generations. and ritual are important aspects of I am not sure that we see our roles as one’s faith development, but only if preparers for the future, but rather we done with meaning and not simply are more focused on our because it has always role as caregivers of the been done that way. To be authentic, we must now. To be compelling We lose credibility embrace these realities to young folks would when we worship require us to admit that and find joy in the ways tradition more than we others discover, connect future generations worship God. with and live out their experience the church. The internet is not faith in Christ in ways Not an easy task, but just a method, it is a different than our own. transformation is not way of life. To be authentic, we always easy. must embrace these To reach a realities and find joy in generation that lives the ways future generations and breathes online, we must abandon experience the church. Not an easy the assumption that technology and task, but transformation is not easy. social networking have no place in discovering, nurturing and/or living out Here are three realities that we community. Just as the arrival of the must embody if we are to be a church printing press, telephone and that is a meaningful place for future automobile changed the culture of generations to grow into all that God church, technology must also be intends for them to become. embraced and utilized faithfully. DISCLAIMER: I offer these few Respect is given, but authority is characteristics as general descriptors earned. and not absolute truths. One of the pitfalls we often fall into in our wellLastly, we must realize that the intentioned zeal to reach young people church no longer holds authority of is that we believe that young people faith by simply being the church. We are a homogenous lot and there is only must earn our authority by living a life one way to share the gospel of Jesus consistent with the life Christ. We must Christ. We have fooled ourselves into humbly acknowledge the brokenness thinking that all we have to do is of our humanity and boldly accept the discover the “secrets” to the lives of forgiveness Christ offers to us all. FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future

HOW WE CAN GR OW

We must move towards appreciation and interaction with Our church's Ecumenical Vision the other and away from tolerance Statement reminds us that, "The unity of the for and debate with the enemy. Church is both God's real gift and God's We must move beyond mere effective calling." How would you work for tolerance and being nice to our unity within the Presbyterian Church enemies. What we must be able to do (U.S.A.), and how would this contribute to is appreciate/love the other, so much the unity we seek with other churches and so that we have room to shift in our Christian communities? opinion or at the least, to believe that others discerned their positions with In order to maintain larger Christian just as much faithfulness as we. We unity, let alone denominational must listen to one another without commitment, we must approach our first thinking about how to change communal life in new ways. minds and/or thinking the only reason We must move towards organic someone believes something contrary movements of collaboration and is due to a lack of intelligence. It goes away from mechanistic to the idea of Truth and structures of regulation. who holds it. Too often we If we, the church, We can no longer believe that it is we, and cannot live into structure or legislate our only we, who hold the truth the hope that way into community. At now and forever. Christ offers, we one point in our culture, We must move towards legislating from above was might as well engagement driven by needed and responded to pack it in and go hope and away from in concert with grassroots home. reactions based on fear. movements, but now the We can no longer way people perceive operate as if new life and hope are not authority changes the way people realities. Too many of us only know receive and react to mandates from on how to feel useful if we are in a high. climate of fear and desperation. We We must move towards only know how to play the role of committed relationships built on malcontent and/or gatekeeper and do values and away from mandated not know how to operate within a loyalties to camps or preclimate of hope. Jesus did not come to determined agendas. bring despair, but hope. If we, the We can no longer rely on loyalty to church, cannot live into the hope that ideological camps. Whereas past Christ offers, we might as well pack it generations pledged loyalty to a in and go home. Movements of hope particular ideology. We can no longer do not demand ease and smooth assume buy-in to one ideological sailing, but a common understanding platform. Folks may now be willing to that through struggle and communal overlook some disagreements IF there hard work, there is new life ahead. is a sense of aligned values, even if it means crossing traditional camp lines.
FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future hanging out with those who have entered the Presbyterian “care What suggestions do you have for process.” While each seminarian’s identifying new directions for partnership experience will obviously be different, between congregations, presbyteries, it seems like most are trying to seminaries and the General Assembly in reconcile a deep commitment to serve preparation for ordained ministry? Christ with joy, hope, and relevance I must admit it feels odd to walk and the rapidly changing nature of into rooms of clergy these days and be church, call, and pastoral ministry. one of the “old guys.” At the ripe old While seminary nuts-n-bolts age of 38, no longer am I the young training is important, as we prepare turk that I had once been ;-) It is folks for ministry I believe that we wonderful to see so many young adults should focus on providing starting to move into professional opportunities for seminarians to ordained ministry. These folks are develop spiritual disciplines that will grounded with a solid theological allow them to have a high level of education, open to the pastoral agility in order movement of spirit and to thrive in a changing . . . most are trying to ripe to lead our world and church. reconcile a deep denomination into the When it comes to commitment to serve next stage of our life specific focus areas, I Christ with joy, hope together. think each entity involved and relevance and the There also seems to in the process should rapidly changing nature be a shadow side to the consider the following: of church, call, and young clergy experience, Encourage spiritual aspects of their pastoral ministry. maturity by drawing out preparation for ministry where God is giving life that seem somewhat out rather than operating solely as a of alignment with the greater culture regulatory entity. from which they have come. There is a disconnect between who young clergy are culturally and the institution to which they are being called to serve. In the face of this situation, young clergy are left with few options: change, deal or leave. Something must give. Something must change. I suspect it is the institution. Over the last few years I have had the privilege of supervising interns, speaking at seminaries and generally Encourage covenant community by developing relationships of mutual trust and honest feedback based on regular and on-going interactions rather than sporadic task deadlines. Encourage self-reflection by limiting gate-keeping postures and instead exhibiting humility and flexibility throughout the process. If we are able to do these few things, I am certain, clergy of the future will serve with longevity and joy. FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

HOW W IL L WE BE LEAD

BRUCE REYES-CHOW nurtured by our past . . . embracing our future

F UNCT ION A ND F ORM?

ordination exams. As I begin to work my way through The Form of Government Task Force was the 114 pages of the report, peruse created by the 217th General Assembly (2006) the internet chatter and explore the to propose a revised polity that would be more denominational resources, I am flexible, more foundational, and more cautiously optimistic about the appropriate for a missional Reformed Church possibilities that the FOG offers. in the 21st century. What do you think about There is still a great deal of these proposals? discernment that needs to happen if First, I wish to express my deepest this is going to move forward. Voices respect and appreciation for those of critique must be heard and taken who received and accepted the call to seriously, explanations must be given serve on the Form of Government Task with humility and all Force. Thank God for involved must make those whose call and . . . as a new church themselves open to the joy lie in grappling with development pastor striving movement of the Holy the intricacies of our Spirit. to be an effective and constitution. faithful witness to the life, With that said, as a While I consider death and resurrection of new church pastor myself an effective striving to be an Jesus Christ in a unique, moderator, pastor and effective and faithful urban environment I am presbyter, I am far witness to the life, encouraged. from a polity wonk. death and resurrection Still I think the Book of of Jesus Christ in a Order is filled with unique, urban, setting, I am language, images and direction that encouraged. If 3.0107 is any are vivid and compelling. My indication, we may just be “getting it.” approach to the BoO is that it is to be Mission determines the forms and used in a way that allows us to structures needed for the church to do discover what God may have in store its work. Administration is the process for our lives rather than to restrict our by which a council implements experience of the movement of the decisions. All administration should Holy Spirit. enable the church to give effective I do realize that there are other witness in the world to the new reality experiences of how the BoO has been of God in Jesus Christ. used. Some have used the BoO as a This small portion of an immense legalistic weapon of control; others shift in our polity and structure should pick and choose depending on be encouraging to any community particular needs and interests and, hoping to effectively share and live the sadly, yet others simply view it from Gospel in the world today. afar as it sits on a bookshelf, just a simple reminder of seminary days and FIND OUT MORE www.mod.reyes-chow.com

Bruce Reyes-Chow has chosen

REV. DR. BYRON WADE
as candidate for vice-moderator FROM BYRON
My hope for the Presbyterian Church (USA) is that we continue to be about the mission of Jesus Christ in the world today. Despite waning interest in organized religion, changes in society, and various theological views within the church, I believe that God’s witness in the Scriptures and the believers who are the body of Christ called the church continue to be relevant. Through this we have the blessing and opportunity to minister to all of God’s people in new and fresh ways. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I look forward to engaging in this ministry with you.

ABOUT BYRON
Current Call  1996-Present, Pastor Davie Street Presbyterian Church Raleigh, NC Education  Doctor of Ministry, McCormick Theological Seminary, 2007  Master of Divinity, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, 1995  MA in Christian Education, Presbyterian School of Christian Education, 1994  BA in Biology University of Redlands, CA, 1985 Personal  Born December 17, 1963 in Los Angeles, CA  Married to Regina Fleming Wade in 1999; one son, Andrew (6)  Active in many local civic and nonprofit organizations Presbytery of New Hope  Current Vice-Moderator, Committee on Prep. for Ministry  Co-Moderator, Campus Ministry Committee, 2002- 07  Moderator, Black Caucus, 2002-04  Moderator, Committee on Examinations, 2001-2007; Denominational  Planning Team, 2009 National Presby. Pastors’ Sabbath Conf.  Elected Member, General Assembly Council, 1993-1999;  Board of Directors, National Black Presbyterian Caucus, 1988-1990  Advisory Comm. on Youth and Young Adults (UPCUSA), ‘81-‘84  Planning Teams: Montreat Youth, Triennium, Massanetta Springs Middle School, 7% Young Clergy and Peacemaking Conferences

DR. LOWELL T. KNAUSS INTERIM EXECUTIVE PRESBYTER lowellk@homesteadpres.org THE REV. DONALD R. STEINER STATED CLERK dons@homesteadpres.org BARBARA HIPPLE MISSION OUTREACH COORDINATOR barbarah@homesteadpres.org KRIS PETERSON INFORMATION, TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA & RESOURCES “HOMESTEADER” EDITOR krisp@homesteadpres.org WILLARD J. BOUWENS TREASURER 3634 SUMNER STREET LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 68506 402/488-7829 wb90102@alltel.net

HOMESTEAD PRESBYTERY
249 CHERRY HILLS BLVD, SUITE 2-3 LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 68510-2645 402/474-0612

Synod of Lakes and Prairies PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.)

Office of the Stated Clerk Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 100 Witherspoon Street Louisville, KY 40202‐1396

February 20, 2008

Dear Dr. Kirkpatrick:

It is our privilege to transmit to you the results of an extremely important and significant action of Homestead Presbytery. At its stated meeting on February 16, 2008 there was a unanimous approval of supporting Elder Roger Shoemaker for the office of moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), anticipating his election at the 218th meeting of the General Assembly in San Jose, CA. Throughout the years of lay‐ministry within the presbytery Roger has demonstrated a deep concern for the life of the local congregation which, of course, is composed of people, not structural “machinery.” On many occasions he has been very visible and vocal in encouraging ways and means of enabling the ministry of the church’s membership from the standpoint of the particular church, as well as that of the presbytery and its part in the connectionalism of the more inclusive Church, to the very stage of decision making at the doorstep of the Office of the General Assembly there in the Center. Roger has demonstrated a willingness to be seen and heard in supporting the life of the individual congregation including its leadership. As the Church continues to face some significant decisions in the near future, making preparation to build bridges “over troubled waters”, Roger stands ready to provide the leadership he possesses and the motivation of his primary leader, even Jesus Christ as he understands the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In seeking the “peace, unity, and purity” of His Church, Donald R. Steiner, Stated Clerk Homestead Presbytery

Roger Shoemaker
Elder Southern Heights Presbyterian Church Lincoln, NE Personal Born December 12, 1933, Wyoming, Illinois Married Sue, April 19, 1960 Four Children Deborah, Bruce, Glen and Elizabeth Five Grandchildren Education: Graduated Wyoming Community High School 1951 Wyoming, Illinois Graduated Culver City High School 1951 Culver City, California Graduated Ventura Jr. College 1954 Ventura, California Graduated Fresno State College 1958 Fresno, California Degree Industrial Engineering

www.rogershoemaker.com

Church Background: Community Presbyterian Church in Ventura, California 1960 Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Ventura in 1966. Church organizing committee Ordination as an elder Moderator pastor nominating committee. Eastridge Presbyterian Church 1969 Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1974 Deacon, Elder, Christian education, youth work including Sr. High Ski instructor. adult education and teaching, steward ship committee, outreach committee, building and grounds, corporation president, and youth pastor nominating committee. Sister church partnership planning committee for Lutheran Church in Lohmen, East Germany. Southern Heights Presbyterian Church 2006 Adult Education, Trustee Homestead Presbytery: Commissioner, council member (more than once) nominating committee chair and Camp Calvin Crest committee moderator and vice-moderator and then moderator of Homestead Presbytery. Synod of Lakes and Prairies: Commissioner: personnel committee, interim executive search committee and a year as Vice Moderator. National: Sister church partnership with the Lutheran Church in Lohmen, Germany Czech Working Group of GAC. Czech Mission Network as convener. PCUSA Representative. Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren Synodical

2 My sense of call Sharing the Love: Listen with your ears and understand with your heart. I am called to be in dialogue with our congregations to hear of their concerns and hopes so that we may, together find new paths to rediscover the foundations that give us hope and strength and hold us together as a denomination. We are called as children of God, through our baptism, to work as a whole family with one vision rather than one splintered by words. Our call, as was Abraham’s is to live into the discomfort of our faith, to be a people willing to love one another warts and all. In John 10 Jesus talks about his sheep knowing his voice, yet we seem to be unwilling to listen to one another and to debate as necessary in order to find the love into which we are called: to hear the voice of Jesus amidst the din and roar of each other’s rhetoric. Following the Call: Spiritual and Foundational growth. In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus’ parable tells us about a man who built his house on a foundation of sand. I believe we have done just that with out recognizing it as such. As membership ebbs and flows through our churches, we focus on bringing in new members, new sand, to build up the membership base of our congregations rather than building foundations of spirituality that strengthens the church. We need to strengthen our understanding of the Biblical, Confessional and polity components that define us as Presbyterians. . Body of Christ: “Looking for the lost sheep” People come to our churches because we are friendly, or the pastor is wonderful, or they think the music program is extraordinary, or the church school is just right for their children, or we want to be married or buried. When these things no longer fit, like the sand in Jesus parable, the people are swept away by the same winds that brought them to a particular church. We are not Good Shepard’s who know how to care for the flock. Are we secure enough, in our own faith, to go out looking for those who have strayed away and are lost? We have failed these brothers and sisters and their children. According to the statistics for 2006 there were 2,267,118 members in the denomination and 65% of the members go to church every week. This equals 1,473,667 attending members. Where are the other 793,451 members on Sunday? Mission: “Feed My Sheep” Our Call to love one another is a call to us as individuals and as Christian community to be in mission by feeding those who lack food for both body and spirit, clothing those in need with cloth and respect, healing those who are sick and seeking justice for those who are denied justice. It makes no difference whether or not it is local, national or international for all are our neighbors. Historically Presbyterian mission has been focused on long-term commitments not short-term sprints that seem to be in vogue. We are called to work together as family to share God’s love and care for all. Networks, partnerships and shared resources are the emerging paradigm for the church’s mission.

3 There are no easy answers and I have no magic words that will bridge the gaps but if we will be open to listening to one another and truly believe in God’s call and His claim on our lives, answers will come. God’s peace will reign for those whose hearts are for listening and whose eyes are open to see the wonders that prevail. I believe I am called, as a servant leader, to listen in the hope that together we will find ways to be faithful to our denomination and God’s call for our lives as the body of Christ.

Questions for Candidates for Moderator
Roger Shoemaker
1. Q Our church's Ecumenical Vision Statement reminds us that, "The unity of the Church is both God's real gift and God's effective calling." How would you work for unity within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and how would this contribute to the unity we seek with other churches and Christian communities? 1. A. My focus is to be in touch with and in visits to congregations as much as possible. Unity is a product of common vision or focus of energies to accomplish a given task. An example is the continuing arguments over the GLTB issue. It seems to me like two groups of kids throwing mud balls at each other over a solid wood fence, even if they cant see each other, now and then they hit some one on the other side the battle goes on until one side or the other gets called home for dinner and things are quiet. I think there needs to be a face-to- face discussion on the subject in a venue other rather than General Assembly or news media. There is no solution until these groups come to some consensus of understanding and at that point the church may be able to find a solution. Until then there are other issues the church needs to deal with. The resulting strength of understanding as to who we are and whose we are would lead to a stronger witness within the church. I hope that this change within the PC (USA) would strengthen our willingness to reach out to churches of other denominations, to address community needs, and become partners in mission, especially in communities with smaller populations. I would hope that we would continue to strengthen relationships with other denominations to enable partnering within all church communities. Church growth is dependent on local congregations because our real growth comes from the ground up. 2. Q. The 208th General Assembly (1996) affirmed the goal of increasing racial ethnic membership to 10 percent by the year 2005, and to 20 percent by the year 2010. How do you assess the Presbyterian Church's progress toward the fulfillment of this goal and what would you do during your moderatorial term to move the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) closer to realizing or exceeding this goal?

4 2.A The statistics from 2001 and 2006 show only a 1% change in racial /ethnic members so I would think that we have not gained much in light of the goal. My experience with Hope Church Chicago, an African American congregation, tells me that it is possible to work on projects together but it is another thing to do church together. We helped with their feeding program and rebuild the front steps of a members’ house but I wish I could show you a video taken during a worship service at Hope Church. The hymn was familiar and the congregation was moving to the music except for the four visitors standing in the back row. There is a need to better understand the culture of the racial ethnic communities and their needs in order for the denomination to nurture racial ethnic churches. By understanding their needs we become enabled to help them reach out to their communities. Even though their worship may not look like what we might expect or their leadership conform to all of our rules we need to become partners with racial/ethnic congregations. For example: If people were members of a Presbyterian Church in the Sudan, how can we enable then to be a Sudanese Presbyterian Church in America? As moderator I would want to find ways to lift up and nurture the racial ethnic church communities. There needs to be flexibility with and acceptance of the racial ethic church communities. God will find a way to fill in the gaps. 5.Q. What suggestions do you have for identifying new directions for partnership between congregations, presbyteries, seminaries and the General Assembly in preparation for ordained ministry? 5.A. God calls people to ministry, seminaries create theologians, the denomination is the employment agency, the presbyteries ordain and churches call according to their needs and the guidelines for calling a pastor. There needs to be a common vision for what is needed to provide leadership for the churches. Working together as partners we can accomplish these goals. Since our seminaries have a broad geographical placement I would like to see consultations, at the congregational level within their geographical areas. These consultations would include the seminary, PCUSA, local presbyteries and congregations to develop this vision for the church leadership. Our common goal must be to meet the pastoral needs of our churches both large and small. 7.Q. What is your sense of where God is leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at this time in its history? 7.A. There are times when I think Jesus is standing and looking at us as he did when he approached Jerusalem according to Luke 19: 41-42 “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace.” I believe that as long as we continue to debate the Book of Order we are blinded to the reality of God’s call to love one another and to care for the poor and hungry, the down trodden and exploited. The comfort of our possessions and wealth cause us to not hear God’s call for it asks us to give up both pride and possessions so that the God’s kingdom may grow within our hearts. Each time I read about the dissention going on with in

5 the denomination, whatever the issue, I can hear the crowd yelling Barabbas! Barabbas! and the hammer striking the nails as they are driven into the cross. Turn to 1 Corinthians 13: and hear Paul’s words concerning Love. Part of what is said is “ Without love I may be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal or with the ability to move mountains, I am nothing’. Yet out of Gods Love and Grace the church has survived, but it survives because of the work of the churches and their faith. Our disunity is like an ocean in a storm, the waves roll and crash and build again and the wind blows with great fury on the surface, but in the depths the water is calm and undisturbed. These disagreements effect a portion of the church community, yet the disagreements have a negative effect in accomplishing the work of the rest of the church. If you need another example would be Paul and the disagreement with the Jerusalem Church over circumcision of Gentiles. God will be patient and lead us to where God wants at a point God thinks appropriate. 8. Q. What should be the role of the Moderator during times of deep disagreements in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) about matters of faith and practice? 8. A. Times of deep disagreement call for times of deep love and a willingness to be in dialogue within the depths of the disagreement. The roll of the moderator is that of a servant leader who is willing to be at risk for the sake of our Lord Jesus and for witnessing to Gods love. In question one I suggested that the disputing sides get together and discuss their differences. The Moderator should be willing to be there as moderator, not mediator for such a gathering. As Moderator you become a Shepard to look after all the membership of the church with love and compassion.

6

Roger Shoemaker has selected Rev. Peter de Vries as a Vice-Moderator candidate

Rev. Peter de Vries 104 Cashdollar Road Mars PA 16046 devries@zoominternet.net
Peter de Vries grew up in Boswell, a coal mining community in western Pennsylvania, and in Covenant Presbyterian Church, a congregation of about 60 members. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Penn State before attending Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received his M.Div. in 1988. Peter served as the pastor for a yoked parish of two rural congregations in Kiskiminetas Presbytery for five years before moving to his present call. For the past fourteen years he has been the pastor of Old Union Presbyterian Church in Mars, a 200 member congregation of Beaver-Butler Presbytery, located just beyond the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Peter is a Ph.D. student in religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently completing his dissertation and expects to earn his degree next spring. His studies have focused upon interpretive theory, philosophy of language, and how these fields can be used in New Testament studies. His dissertation uses the hermeneutic theory of Paul Ricoeur to advance an understanding of Jesus’ apocalyptic discourse of Mark 13. Peter has made presentations at regional, national, and international academic conferences. Peter’s relationship with Presbyterian partners in Ghana began in 1989, and in 1997 he and his family traveled to Ghana for the first time. His continuing visits to Ghana focus primarily on leadership training. Peter has been the convener of the Ghana Mission Network since its inception in 2002, and he led a recent partnership meeting for US and Ghanaian Presbyterians. Peter has been involved in youth ministry locally and at the presbytery, synod, and national levels. He has served at presbytery and synod camps and conferences, and in evangelism at the presbytery and synod level. He has recently served as chair of his presbytery’s nominating committee. Peter has taught at Chautauqua Institution, served as a Bible Hour speaker at New Wilmington Missionary Conference, and spoke at an interfaith town hall meeting sponsored by Pittsburgh’s Muslim community. Peter is the son of Dutch immigrants and is the youngest of four children. Peter has been married for fourteen years to his best friend Becky, a counselor and school psychologist. He has three stepchildren: Shari, who has just graduated from Boston University, Devin, who is a student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and Trevor, who will begin studies at Duquesne in the fall. Peter enjoys bicycling, motorcycling, downhill and cross-country skiing, kayaking, playing guitar, and throwing boomerangs.

WILLIAM “BILL” TENG
PASTOR

www.BillTeng.com TengPresby@aol.com

HERITAGE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

MINISTRY IN OUTLINE
Parish Ministry
2001 – Present Heritage Presbyterian Church Alexandria, VA Pastor/Head of Staff 1999 – 2001 Chinese Community Church Washington, DC Senior Pastor 2006 – Present Planning & Evaluation Committee 2006 – Present Nominating Committee 2004 Commissioner to 216th General Assembly, Vice Moderator of GA Comm. on Evangelism & Higher Education 2004 Moderator 2003 Vice Moderator 2002 – 2006 Bills and Overtures Committee 2002 Commissioner to the 214th General Assembly 2001 – 2005 Council Member and Chair (2005) 2000 – 2002 Worship & Theology Committee, Co-Chair (01-02) Central Florida Presbytery 1995 – 1996 Council 1994 – 1996 Committee on Theology & Worship, Chair (95-96)

GRATITUDE AND HOPE

1996 – 1999 Union Church Hong Kong Hong Kong, China Minister 1990 – 1996 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Satellite Beach, FL Pastor of Pastoral Care and Worship 1987 – 1988 Emmanuel English Church, Hong Kong, China Interim Pastor 1986 – 1990 Alliance Bible Seminary, Hong Kong, China Founding Chair of Department of Church Music Director of Public Relations and Development 1983 – 1986 Arlington Alliance Church (Christian & Missionary Alliance) Arlington, TX Associate Pastor 1979 – 1983 Simpson Memorial Church (Christian & Missionary Alliance) Nyack, NY Minister of Music

PC(USA) Ministry
2003 – 2007 Presbyterians For Renewal, Board of Directors President (2007)

Presbytery Ministry
National Capital Presbytery 2007 – Present Permanent Judicial Commission

Ecumenical Ministry
2006 – Present Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington Board of Directors

IN

BILL TENG
2002 – Present Christian Solidarity Worldwide (USA) Board of Directors 1998 – 1999 Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Hong Kong) Founding Board of Directors, Chair 1998 – 1999 Hong Kong International Airport Chaplaincy Advisory Board Protestant Representative 1996 – 1999 Hong Kong Alpha Committee 1996 – 1999 Hong Kong Walk to Emmaus/Cursillo Steering Committee, Spiritual Director 1996 – 1999 Hong Kong Christian Council Executive Committee 1992 – 1996 Indian River (Florida) Via de Cristo/Cursillo Spiritual Director 2000 – Present WRC-TV / NBC4, Washington, DC Community Advisory Board 1999 – 2001 Mayor's Faith Advisory Council Washington, DC 1976 –1978 Nyack Symphony Music Director & Conductor

Education
1983 Master of Divinity Alliance Theological Seminary Nyack, NY 1979 Master of Arts City College of New York New York, NY 1975 Bachelor of Music Nyack College Nyack, NY

Ordination
July 21, 1985

Community Ministry
2003 – Present Civil Air Patrol (Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force) Chaplain (Major)

Personal
Born in Hong Kong – December 30, 1953 Married to Karen Koster – March 24, 1985

SENSE OF CALL
My sense of call in standing for the around the world. As a cross-cultural Moderator of the General Assembly comes Christian, it would be my joy to expand from the fact that I love the church — the vision of the PC(USA) into the especially the Presbyterian Church (U. S. vibrancy of the global Church. A.). I long to see our denomination face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st I am the product of Presbyterian

I long to see our denomination face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century with hope and vitality.”

Century with hope and vitality. Many tend to talk within about a

mission. I owe much of my spiritual heritage to American Presbyterians who

stagnant brought the good news of Jesus Christ to shrinking China.

congregations

denomination. Meanwhile God is inspiring a vibrant global Church of which we are a part. In many ways, my own life is evidence of the deep connections Presbyterians share

Presbyterian missionaries introduced

my great-grandfather to Jesus Christ in the late 1800s. He became one of the first ordained Presbyterian elders in China.


BILL TENG
all ages and ethnicities discipleship.”


I

My grandfather was one of the first experienced God’s grace at work. I know graduates from the first university in China no greater fulfillment than seeing people

know — founded by Presbyterian Missionaries. of all ages and ethnicities encountering He became an ordained Presbyterian the transforming power of Jesus Christ no minister in China’s Shantung Province. and growing in Christian discipleship. My father had the opportunity to receive If elected, I want to help an increasingly his theological education at New College, diverse denomination understand that University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He was cross-cultural ministry can be much ordained a minister of the Word and more than just multi-cultural ideas! Sacrament in Hong Kong and served there. Finally, as much as I love the church and I have a deep sense of gratitude and the gospel ministry, I love even more the “gospel debt.” If I am given the opportunity Lord of the church and gospel ministry, to serve my beloved Presbyterian Church the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and (U.S.A.) as Moderator, I’m willing and able! his Word. I want to bring a message of At the same time, ministry begins in the hope back to our denomination! intimacy of local communities where the For too long, the PC(USA) has been good news of Jesus Christ is shared with distracted from our primary calling as our lives as well as our lips. Christ’s Church by divisive and contentious issues. We need to reclaim Hands-on ministry has been my life. I have our primary calling: mission — sharing loved serving God in the United States and God’s justice and mercy without pride or

greater fulfillment than seeing people of

encountering the transforming power of Jesus Christ and growing in Christian

We need to reclaim our primary calling: mission — sharing God’s justice and mercy without pride or prejudice, and our greatest joy: evangelism — having an answer when astonished people ask us why we care.”

overseas. I have found ministry rewarding, prejudice, and our greatest joy: exciting, educational and above all, evangelism — having an answer when meaningful — serving God and God’s people astonished people ask us why we care. from suburban New York to the Southwest, from the international city of Hong Kong to It is my hope that, as Moderator, I’m able coastal Florida, and now in our nation’s to lead our church back to these basics. capital. Over and over again I have — soli Deo gloria!

QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES FOR MODERATOR
Question 1. Our church’s Ecumenical Vision Statement reminds us that, “The unity of the Church is both God’s real gift and God’s effective calling.” How would you work for unity within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and how would this contribute to the unity we seek with other churches and Christian communities? My understanding of unity is first and foremost informed by scripture where Jesus prays that we may all be one, as the Father and the Son are one (John 17:22). And the reason for that is, “So that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). To accomplish this, I believe we must do what Paul has instructed us, that we are to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

BILL TENG

In order to work for unity within the In order Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I believe we to listen must first learn to listen to each other, to each especially among those who may disagree other, we must first with one another on certain issues. In my opinion, humility has to start with the selfbelieve that we realization that “I may not have the corner have something to on the whole truth and so I must learn to learn from each listen to others, just in case they could shed other, so that we some light on the truth!” And maybe that’s could find common why Paul adds “regard others as better than ground with one yourselves.” another and build In order to listen to each other, we must trust among one first believe that we have something to learn another to foster from each other, so that we could find unity.” common ground with one another and build trust among one another to foster unity. For the last five years or so, I’ve had the privilege to be in a small group of pastors from within National Capital Presbytery, intentionally drawn from both sides of the proverbial aisle, to meet on a regular basis — to share with one another our respective faith journeys, our concerns for the church, our varying views on different issues, and to

pray for one another. In the process, we’ve learnt to look past our theological and ideological differences and come to respect one another’s views. We have built trust among ourselves that we don’t have to demonize or label one another just because we may not agree on a certain issue. And we have pledged to support one another in prayer and to find common ground to do ministry together. I’m humbled to say that two pastors from this group, one from each side of the “aisle,” made nominating speeches at a presbytery meeting to support my moderator candidacy. When we are able to demonstrate this ability to listen to and respect one another in the PC(USA), we can then offer what we do as an example to the larger church community. I also believe that some form of organic union among the various denominations maybe helpful as well, so to fulfill Jesus’ prayer that the world would know God’s love in our unity!

Question 2. The 208th General Assembly (1996) affirmed the goal of increasing racial ethnic membership to 10 percent by the year 2005, and to 20 percent by the year 2010. How do you assess the Presbyterian Church's progress toward the fulfillment of this goal and what would you do during your moderatorial term to move the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) closer to realizing or exceeding this goal? It’s true that the Christian church today is no longer mainly a White Anglo-Saxon faith or a Western cultural expression. When the World Council of Churches was first organized sixty years ago, some eighty percent of the world’s Christians were in Europe and North America. Today, the opposite is true, where only twenty percent of the world’s Christians are in Europe and North America. The continent of Africa now has the fastest growing Christian population with eight new congregations being started every week. Tens of millions of Pentecostal Christians are now found in South America. Indonesia, though mainly a Muslim country, now has the most Christians among other Southeast Asian countries. As South Korea claims over half of its population as Christian, China — in its past sixty years under communist rule — has seen a tremendous growth in its Christian population: while the official figure puts it at 30 million, a conservative reality is more like 100 million. When I visited the Chinese city of Kunming in Yunnan Province back in 1998, I was told that there were some 800,000 Christians there alone (but with only 66 ordained pastors among them). Even in North America, the fastest growing churches seem not to be Anglo congregations, but ethnic ones: such as African, Asian, Hispanic, etc. If this is true, then how do we, as Presbyterians, move closer to realizing or exceeding our goal of increasing racial ethnic membership to twenty percent by the year 2010? As someone who has pastored both international and ethnic congregations, I believe first we must reclaim that original

Even in North America, the fastest growing churches seem not to be Anglo congregations, but ethnic ones: such as African, Asian, Hispanic, etc.”

BILL TENG
Pentecostal power and learn to share the Good News with our neighbors, with many of them immigrants. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he appealed to the fundamentals of the Christian message — that we all need to call on the name of the Lord, be baptized in Jesus’ name and proclaim Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:21-38), and 3,000 people were baptized on that day. I believe in order for us to be able to articulate our faith, we must be educated; and Christian education must be intentional and deliberate. The bottom line is: we cannot share what we don’t know. Christian expressions and/or principles. This will free us to share with them the most basic Christian truths. Thirdly, as God’s people, we must live in unity, learning to sacrifice for one another’s needs and living in such a faithful way that the world around us would get a foretaste of the future kingdom, of what heaven is like. That was precisely what the early Christians did and “day by day the Lord added to their number” (Acts 2:42-47).

If elected, I want to help an increasingly Secondly, we must develop a post- diverse denomination understand that Christendom mindset — stop assuming that cross-cultural ministry can be much we still live in a Christian culture and that more than just multi-cultural ideas! our neighbors and friends are familiar with Question 6. In what new ways can the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its congregations place a focus on ministry to and with youth and young adults to ensure a church for future generations? There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that today’s young people need Christ just as much as older folks do, but yet it is blatantly obvious that the missing element in most of our Presbyterian congregations across our land is that of youth and young adults. looking for authentic models to follow and so we must provide them with an authentic gospel message of Jesus Christ — not a watered-down version — but a full-bodied vibrant message of salvation. While in many homes, young people today are not seeing godly examples in their parents, a good mentoring program in church would provide necessary models of integrity for them to follow. Young people can tell the difference between genuine concern for them and unreal platitudes in a heartbeat, and so we must not offer insincere clichés and jargons but the living water of God’s Word.

I truly believe only when we begin showing genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of our youth and young adults that they will respond by showing interest in what we have to say as a church!”

However, it is not to say that we don’t have excellent examples of effective youth ministries in some of our congregations! For example, University Presbyterian Church in Seattle has a thriving college-age ministry. People like Anthony Ceder at First Presbyterian Church in Houston can teach us a thing or two about how to reach our youth. How is it that upwards of 5,000 students would gather every Tuesday I truly believe only when we begin evening at Texas A&M University for Bible showing genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of our youth and young adults, study? How do they do that? will they respond by showing interest in I believe young people today are always what we have to say as a church!

Question 8. What should be the role of the Moderator during times of deep disagreements in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) about matters of faith and practice. As stated in Standing Rules of the General Assembly, H.1.a.(4), the job description of the office of the Moderator of the General Assembly sounds simple enough: “When the Moderator presides at the assembly, it is to be a sign of the bond of unity, community, and mission in the life of the church. During the period between assemblies, the Moderator serves as an ambassador of the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, telling the story of the church’s life and upholding the people of

BILL TENG

The term “unity” seems to be predominant in this statement to indicate that the role of the Moderator of the General Assembly is to importantly, the point attention not to oneself but to the role of the presumptive unity of the church. In other Moderator of the words, the Moderator is not to be a General Assembly controversial figure but to be a gracious and is to be a prayer wise arbiter in times of conflicts and deep warrior — disagreements in our church. bringing our joys I believe the Moderator of the General and concerns to Assembly is Moderator of the whole church the throne of and not just part of the church and therefore grace and to needs to be fair and judicious when it comes intercede for to matters of faith and practice. I believe the healing in our PC(USA) is a table large enough that people brokenness in our of many theological persuasions should be church!” able to have a seat at it and to listen to and

God through prayer.” But most

learn from one another. The main role of the Moderator of the General Assembly during times of deep disagreements in the PC(USA) therefore is to be a peacemaker among those who may disagree with one another, to bring a word of healing and encouragement to the wounded and desperate, and to lift up best practices from our congregations across the land and the world for those who need good examples to follow. But most importantly, the role of the Moderator of the General Assembly is to be a prayer warrior — bringing our joys and concerns to the throne of grace and to intercede for healing the brokenness in our church!

Question 10. The Form of Government Task Force was created by the 217th General Assembly (2006) to propose a revised polity that would be more flexible, more foundational, and more appropriate for a missional Reformed Church in the 21st century. What do you think about these proposals. First of all, the Form of Government Task Force must be commended in their selfless commitment and dedication in the last 1½ years to the tedious but important work of revising our Book of Order. They had been given an almost impossible task to produce a new form of government in a relatively short time, and they have done so admirably! There are some very excellent ideas in the proposed polity revision. For example, I like the idea that the first four chapters of our current Book of Order be separated out to form altogether a new section entitled, “Foundations of Presbyterian Polity.” I also like the idea of going back to using the terms of “ruling elder” and “teaching elder” to delineate clearly the distinct role and function of each office. I especially like the idea of using the term “council” in place of the current “governing body,” when referring to the various entities that oversee and make decision about the life of the church. The proposed change to replace the current terms of “office” and “officer” with “ordered ministry” and “ordered minister” also has a nice ecclesiastical tone to it! However, after saying that, I also have some reservation and concern about many of the proposed changes. For example, while the current Book of Order begins appropriately with Jesus Christ as “the Head of the Church,” the opening paragraph of the new “Foundations of Presbyterian Polity” seems to have a misplaced emphasis on “God’s Mission” instead of the “Missioning God.” Also, in an attempt to make the new form of government more flexible and foundational, the lack of specificity and clarity in many details that our current polity has seems to make us less “connectional” and lead to more confusion which, in turn, would lead to more disunity and mistrust. My one major concern about this new proposal is in its timing — I don’t believe there is enough time for most commissioners to be able to read and digest this large amount of important information in such a short time. To approve such a vital document in a rush would not serve the best interest of our church well. I believe the best way forward is to postpone final consideration of this document until the 219th General Assembly in 2010, so that more time could be devoted to soliciting feedbacks from the whole church!

Bill Teng has selected Tamara Letts as a Vice Moderator Candidate

TAMARA A. LETTS
ASSOCIATE PASTOR FOR MINISTRY MOBILIZATION

TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

CANDIDATE FOR VICE MODERATOR

BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
I had the privilege of growing up in a loving, faithful, Christian home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both of my parents were active in Young Life, a nondenominational Christian ministry outreach to high school kids. My family was involved at First Presbyterian Church, where my father taught a large adult education class for many years. Because of them, I got it…every one of us is wonderfully unique and desperately loved by God. My parents’ passion to share Jesus Christ in and to a youth culture that was foreign, uncomfortable, hurting and misunderstood, so that each person might know the love of God, became foundational to my life. During my high school years, I felt pulled toward youth ministry. That “pull” led to a year as an intern in Stuttgart, Germany (through a recent partnership that had been established between Young Life and the German Evangelical Church). While in Germany, I worked in a program with special needs kids, mostly victims of thalidomide. My experience with them taught me that real joy is found, not in what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others by God’s grace. It was a powerful cross-cultural experience which has been instrumental in the shaping of my ministry. In 1981, after graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, with a German degree, I attended Fuller Theological Seminary where I was surprised to find myself being called to the pastorate. I felt undeserving, and yet I could not escape the sense of call. I had no choice but to respond by serving God’s church. In seminary I met my husband, Tom, and we had the joy of not only graduating together but also being ordained together back at First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs as Co-Associate Pastors for Student Ministries. Since then we have served as a clergy couple in a variety of ways. We have worked side-by-side in very large churches, small churches, resort-type churches and rural churches. I still have a special heart for youth and young adults. My specific congregational experience stretched to include adult education, women’s ministry, lay leadership ministry, small group ministry, missions, and children’s. I have especially enjoyed working with the Wee Kirk Ministry, a distinctive ministry that reaches out to the leadership of churches with 125 members or less. My work in small churches has brought me to realize and champion the significant, vital role they play in God’s mission. I have served as chair for the Committee on Ministry (Yellowstone Presbytery) and Church In Society (Pueblo Presbytery). Our family moved to Alaska three years ago from Montana, where we served a small church for 11 years. I currently am chair of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry in Yukon Presbytery which also oversees the training and equipping of 14 Commissioned Lay Pastors, many of whom serve in remote Native Alaskan villages above the Arctic Circle. I served on the board of Presbyterians For Renewal from 1992-1999, and I currently volunteer on the leadership team for National Presbyterian Women in Leadership. We have two wonderful, gifted daughters: one a freshman in college and one a sophomore in high school. I enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, skiing, old-school jazz, films and books.