Palo Duro Presbytery has endorsed the Rev. Randolph R. “Randy” Branson as a candidate for moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Branson ― pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Graham, Texas, is the fourth announced candidate for moderator, joining the Rev. Neal Presa of Elizabeth Presbytery, the Rev. Sue Krummel of the Presbytery of Great Rivers and the Rev. Robert M. Austell Jr. of Charlotte Presbytery.

A native of Oklahoma, Branson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1968 and San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1971. Prior to serving in Graham, he served pastorates in Arlington and Baytown, Texas, and San Pedro, Calif.

“The middle of the church needs to demand and expect a culture of respect and appreciation in the PC(USA),” Branson told the Presbyterian News Service. “Palo Duro Presbytery has been through a lot and we’ve figured out a way to get along across a lot of viewpoints,” he said. “I’m hoping to offer that to the denomination. We can’t keep going the way we’re going.”

In Palo Duro Presbytery, Branson currently serves as moderator and has also chaired the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, as well as other leadership roles.

There’s been “a paradigm shift” in the way the denomination functions, from top-down to bottom-up, Branson said. “I’m going to challenge GA commissioners to focus on strengthening congregations for the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.”