The two presbyteries in New Mexico took a giant step forward in plans to restructure staffing with the calling of the Rev. Sallie Watson as regional presbyter/stated clerk at a special joint meeting of the two governing bodies on February 27.

Because of the scheduled phasing out of Mission Partnership Funds by the General Assembly Mission Council in 2013, the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca and the Presbytery of Santa Fe began a planning process several years ago to find ways of reducing costs and still maintain a vibrant ministry in this vast state.

Rather than merging the two presbyteries, which have different cultures, the decision was made to restructure staffing. Watson will begin her work on April 1.

In the months ahead there will be further staff reductions as the two presbyteries move toward having an associate stated clerk/office manager and an administrative assistant. There currently are two part-time stated clerks and three support staff between the two presbyteries.

Offices will be maintained in each presbytery. Each presbytery will maintain its own committee structure and financial records.

Watson is a lifelong Presbyterian who grew up in Dallas. She is a graduate of Austin College, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree in 1987, and Mc Cormick Theological Seminaary, where she earned her Doctor of Ministry in 2007.

She has served churches in Texas, California and Utah. Most recently she has been interim general presbyter for the Presbytery of Arkansas. She is married and the mother of two children.

Watson succeeds the Rev. Jim Collie, executive in the Presbytery of Santa Fe for the past 16 years, and the Rev. Jeff Finch, interim executive in the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca.