The Presbytery of Charlotte has endorsed the Rev. Robert Austell as the third candidate for moderator of next year’s 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Austell joins the Rev. Neal Presa of Elizabeth Presbytery and the Rev. Susan Davis Krummel of the Presbytery of Great Rivers as candidates for the denomination’s top elected office.

The assembly will be held June 30-July 7, 2012 in Pittsburgh.

“I believe I am being called at this time to remind the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of the extraordinary God that has called us together into being and leads us out into the world with hope and Good News as a distinct, truth-and grace-bearing people,” Austell said in a press release.

Austell is pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC, where he has served since 2002. He was a commissioner to the 218th General Assembly (2008) and is moderator-elect of the Presbytery Council after previously serving as vice moderator of council and moderator of presbytery.

Austell is able to “speak authentically and faithfully to a wide spectrum of Presbyterians,” said the Rev. Lee Koontz, chair of the presbytery’s nominating committee, in a press release.

“During a time in which we're discussing congregations potentially leaving the denomination, Robert is able to relate to those who want to leave, those who want to stay, and everyone in between, and he does so with compassion and understanding,” Koontz said.

Austell studied at Davidson College (A.B.), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M. Div. classwork), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte (D. Min.). He and his wife live in Matthews, N.C., and have three daughters. Austell is a musician, conference worship leader, author and computer enthusiast.