Biographical information on members of the Committee to Prepare a Comprehensive Study Focused on Israel Palestine

March 13, 2009

Louisville

The 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called for the formation of a Committee to Prepare a Comprehensive Study Focused on Israel Palestine. The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th GA, and his two immediate predecessors, the Rev. Joan Gray and Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, have named the following individuals to serve on the committee.

The Rev. Susan R. Andrews is general presbyter of Hudson River Presbytery. She previously served as a parish pastor for 32 years, most recently at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md. Andrews has also served as moderator of two presbyteries and was chair of the General Assembly Call System Task Force from 1986-1990. She was moderator of the 215th General Assembly (2002).

Elder Frederic W. Bush is a retired professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. As a professor, he directed a summer program that took students to Israel to study biblical Hebrew. Bush holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

Elder Nahida H. Gordon is a biostatistics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. A Palestinian-American, Gordon and her family emigrated to the United States when she was young. Gordon was a Fulbright scholar at Birzeit University in Palestine in 1997. She is a member of the PC(USA)’s Israel Palestine Missionary Network and gives talks about Palestine around Northeast Ohio.

The Rev. John Huffman is pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif. He is on the boards of World Vision U.S. and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is chairman of the board of Christianity Today International. Huffman chaired the PC(USA) delegation to the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. from 1992-2000 and served on the Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands national steering committee.

Elder Lucy Janjigian has volunteered as a short-term mission worker with the Armenian Missionary Association of America. A painter, she introduced crafts to coordinate with Bible studies and vacation Bible schools in Armenia, Georgia and Ngorn Kharabakh. Janjigian was born of Armenian descent in Jerusalem and worked with the United Nations Relief Works Agency among Palestinian refugees.

The Rev. Rebecca Reyes is the project coordinator for the Latino Health Project at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. An ordained minister for 28 years, Reyes has served the PC(USA) as a pastor, campus minister, global recruiter, and General Assembly staff associate. She has also led several global faith seminars in such countries as South Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Canada.

The Rev. Marthame Sanders has served as pastor of Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church in Atlanta since 2005. Before that, he and his wife served as PC(USA) mission volunteers in the Palestinian Christian village of Zababdeh. They also produced a documentary film series, “Salt of the Earth: Palestinian Christians in the Northern West Bank.” Sanders is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago’s Divinity School.

The Rev. Byron E. Shafer is professor emeritus at Fordham University in New York City, where he taught Old Testament and Comparative Scriptures for 40 years. He is pastor emeritus of Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he served from 1996 to 2006. Shafer has served as a visiting professor at United Theological College in Bangalore, India, and as an adjunct professor and volunteer-in-mission at McCormick Theological Seminary. He was moderator of the Presbytery of New York City in 1993.

The Rev. Ronald L. Shive (chairperson of the committee) is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, N.C. He previously served at several churches in South Carolina. A commissioner to the 218th General Assembly (2008), Shive served on the Assembly Committee on Peacekeeping and International Relations, which proposed the special committee. He was the convener and organizer for the first Peru Mission Network meeting and serves on the board.

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