At its 20th  annual conference, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), elected the Rev. John A. Robinson Jr. of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance as its new president.  Robinson is PDA’s associate for USA disaster response. 

“I am looking forward to serving as president of national VOAD and representing the 108 national members and state VOADs. These voluntary organizations are the leaders in the disaster response and recovery work in the United States,” Robinson said. “By working together, national VOAD members have created an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration that ultimately benefits the survivors of disaster and advances our understanding of what helps communities recover more quickly and deepens their resiliency in the face of new challenges."

National VOAD is a  nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that serves as the forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle—preparation, response, recovery and mitigation—to help disaster survivors and their communities. National VOAD’s coalition of 108 members include 53 national nonprofit organizations that respond to disasters as part of their overall mission and 55 state and territory VOADs representing hundreds of additional organizations.

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The Covenant Network of Presbyterians has announced the appointment of the Rev. Brian Ellison to serve as its executive director. He succeeds Ruling Elder Pam Byers, who retired last year and begins his new work Aug. 1.

Ellison is currently pastor of  Parkville Presbyterian Church in Parkville, Mo., near Kansas City.

In addition to his service at Parkville, Ellison has served in a variety of leadership roles in Heartland Presbytery, including as stated clerk and as moderator of several committees. He has also held a variety of General Assembly roles, including serving on the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and (currently) the Board of Pensions and the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment. He has had a volunteer or elected role at fifteen General Assemblies.

Ellison plans to work from the Kansas City area, where he lives with his partner, Troy Lillebo. 

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians was founded in 1997 to work for the full inclusion of all Presbyterians in the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including as ordained church officers.

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Michael Adee, who has served as executive director of More Light Presbyterians (MLP) since 1999, is leaving that position to create an international pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) faith project through the Horizons Foundation of San Francisco. He completes his service with MLP on July 31 and starts his new work on Sept. 1.

MLP ― which works for the full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians in the church, including as ordained officers ― was an all-volunteer organization from its founding in 1974 until Adee was hired as its first staff person. Adee, an ordained Ruling Elder, began his volunteer service in 1991 while a member of Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati.

MLP has also announced that Patrick Evans began service as interim executive director June 15. Evans has been serving on the MLP Board and just completed a teaching stint at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He is artist-in-residence at Broadway Presbyterian Church in New York City. He has been actively involved with MLP for 14 years.

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The Rev. James Wilbur Patterson, who served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a variety of capacities over a 30-year career, died May 27 in Eugene, Ore. He was 87.

Born to missionary parents in Sialkot, India (now Pakistan), Patterson returned to the U.S. with them at age 4.  Following his graduation from Sterling College, Kan., in May, 1946, he worked briefly as a reporter for newspapers in Lawrence, Kan. and Chicago until entering McCormick Theological Seminary. Upon graduation he served three pastorates, during which time he began writing Christian education curricula.

In 1960, Patterson began denominational service as an editor for the Board of Christian Education of the United Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. When national offices consolidated in New York in 1970, Patterson and his wife Doris moved to Westfield, N.J., and he served for three years as head of the UPCUSA’s Volunteers in Mission program. He continued in various administrative roles in the UPCUSA and the reunited PC(USA), culminating his career as the denomination’s director of mission personnel, from which he retired in 1989.  

He is survived by Doris, his wife of 66 years; and children Jim (Debbie) Patterson of Denver, Colo.; Mary Beth Patterson (Miguel), Santa Fe, N.M.; Laura Patterson (Stephen) of San Francisco and David (Mary) Patterson of Edgewood, N.M..; and four grandchildren: Julia Patterson of Santa Cruz, Calif; Erica Demster, Novato, Calif.; Gabriel and Claire Patterson-King of San Francisco; as well as three brothers: Ray, Fred and Don Patterson and sister Lois Banta, all in southern California. He was preceded in death by his daughter Kathy Mangonon in 2006.

A memorial service for Wilbur Patterson was held June 1 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in  Eugene.