Members named for reconfigured General Assembly Mid Council Commission

15-member group will continue work begun by 219th GA commission

August 28, 2012


The Reverend Neal D. Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has announced the membership of the General Assembly Mid Council Commission.

Presa selected members of the administrative commission on authorization of the 220th General Assembly (2012). The selections were made in consultation with the Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.

The assembly’s mandate to the commission grows out of assembly business item 05-12 and says, in part:

  • By direction of the 220th General Assembly (2012), or upon a majority affirmative vote of the affected presbytery or presbyteries or a majority affirmative vote of  the presbyteries in the affected synod or synods, the commission is authorized to act as the General Assembly to
  • organize new synods and to divide, unite, or otherwise combine synods or portions of synods previously existing; and
  • approve the organization, division, uniting, or combining of presbyteries or portions of presbyteries by synods.

In addition to the authorities granted as an administrative commission, this group will also have responsibilities as a task force to fulfill the following additional actions on Item 05-12:

  • Further discuss and refine recommendations 1-4 of the Mid Council Commission report to this summer’s assembly and bring to the 221st General Assembly (2014) recommendations that consider the composition and organization of mid councils in ways that reinvigorate their capacity to support missional congregations, and advance the ecclesial nature and character of those presbyteries, within the unity of the church.
  • Review the nature and function of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (formerly General Assembly Mission Council) and the Office of the General Assembly, specifically with respect to their relationship with and support of mid councils as they serve the vitality and mission of congregations in our changing context.

The assembly also commended to the church the narrative portion of the 2010 Mid Council Commission report to this summer’s assembly and asked that a study guide be developed for that purpose.

The commission is to report its findings and recommendations to the 221st General Assembly in 2014.

Upon naming the commission’s membership, Presa said, “I am grateful to God for the willingness of these sisters and brothers in Christ to serve at this time and in this significant way. Individually and collectively, they bring the breadth of diversity and wealth of experience and gifts that are present in the church as they discern the way forward for our mid councils, and the mid councils relationship with our national offices.”

The assembly determined that membership on the commission is to come from the following categories:

  • Four commissioners to the 220th General Assembly
  • Four members of the 219th General Assembly (2010) mid council commission
  • Four members of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly
  • One member of the National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force
  • One person to represent synod executive leadership

Presa added as an official observer to the commission a young adult advisory delegate to this summer’s General Assembly. As an official observer, this person will have full voice at the table.

Presa said, “I anticipate appointing more young adult advisory delegates to special committees in the coming weeks as either full voting members or as official observers.”

Members of the General Assembly Mid Council Commission:

Ruling Elder Ariel Mink and the Reverend Byron Wade will serve as co-chairpersons of the commission. Mink (Redwoods Presbytery) is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Novato, Calif. She has served as a member of the presbytery council, vice-moderator and moderator of Redwoods Presbytery, and as vice-moderator of the Mid Council Issues Committee at the 220th General Assembly. Mink is a senior consultant with the Gallup Organization, specializing in employee and workplace management.

Wade (New Hope Presbytery) is pastor of Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C., and has served at all council levels of the denomination, including the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. He was Vice Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008). He is also a member of New Hope Presbytery's newly formed visioning team, which will discover and focus the future of the presbytery. Wade is the representative from the National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force.

From the commissioners to the 220th General Assembly (in addition to Mink):

Commissioned Ruling Elder Barbara Gilliland (Pueblo Presbytery) has served two congregations as a CRE since 2001 and is now the visitation/pastoral assistant at Faith Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. She has served as moderator of Pueblo Presbytery, the Synod of the Rocky Mountains, and their coordinating councils. She serves on the presbytery’s CLE coordinating committee and on the Synod Permanent Judicial Commission. 

Ruling Elder Judi Johnson (San Jose Presbytery) serves as clerk of session and missions chair for First Presbyterian Church, Hollister, Calif.  She is also chairperson of the presbytery’s committee on preparation for ministry and secretary for the nominating committee.  A retired teacher, Johnson serves on a local school board and is active with myriad community groups.

The Reverend Jason H. Ko (Los Ranchos Presbytery) is pastor of Community Presbyterian Church of La Mirada, Calif. He serves on the presbytery’s strategic coordinating team, which has responsibilities to coordinate, support, develop, and broker resources for missional objectives amongst the ministries and churches in Los Ranchos. 

From the 2010 Mid Council Commission:

Ruling Elder Warren B. Cooper (Philadelphia Presbytery) is a member of the Third, Scots and Mariners (Old Pine Street) Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He has served as a ruling elder for more than ten years and at the presbytery, synod and General Assembly levels for almost four decades. Cooper is a media, broadcast, and ministry professional; a worship specialist and sacred jazz recording artist; and executive producer for Music Media Ministry, pioneering new pathways into church health, ministry growth and worship-focused evangelism.

The Reverend Lemuel Garcia-Arroyo (Salem Presbytery) is the director of alumni and church relations at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He has served as an elected member on various General Assembly committees, including the advisory committee to the office of Hispanic congregational support, the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns, the Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, and the National Multicultural Network. Garcia-Arroyo is a fourth-generation Presbyterian, originally from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico.

The Reverend Liza Hendricks (Western Reserve Presbytery) is the general presbyter for Western Reserve Presbytery. She has served as a campus minister, a parish pastor, and a staff member for Chicago Presbytery. Active in the Urban Presbytery Network, she is a past moderator of the General Assembly’s Committee on Theological Education and also has experience on synod and presbytery committees.

Ruling Elder Jane D. Smith (Riverside Presbytery) is a member of First Presbyterian Church in San Bernardino, Calif. She is a former moderator of the Synod of Southern California/Hawaii and served as a member of the Administrative Commission appointed by the 219th General Assembly. Jane is a retired school superintendent and an elected trustee of the Yucaipa-Calimesa joint unified school district.

From the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly:

The Reverend Eileen W. Lindner (Palisades Presbytery) is pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Tenafly, N.J. She has served congregations in Illinois and New York. Formerly the deputy general secretary of the National Council of Churches, Lindner continues to edit The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, an annual compilation of denominational membership and financial reports of over 200 denominations. She is the author of numerous books and articles and a frequent preacher at PC(USA) and ecumenical events.

The Reverend Jerrod B. Lowry (Utah Presbytery) is pastor of Community of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sandy, Utah. He served previously as pastor of St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Louisburg, N.C., and as associate for specialized ministries for the Presbytery of New Hope.

The Reverend Marcia Mount Shoop (New Hope Presbytery) is a freelance author and theologian living in Chapel Hill, N.C. She is the author of Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ. A former moderator of the national board of the Presbyterian Multicultural Network, Mount Shoop has pastored congregations in Chicago, Ill., and Oakland, Calif., and has served three congregations as theologian in residence.

Ruling Elder James Wilson (Scioto Valley Presbytery) is a member of Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. He is an antitrust litigator at the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease; a past chairperson of the American Bar Association's Section of Antitrust Law; and teaches antitrust law at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Wilson has served the Presbytery of Scioto Valley as moderator and stated clerk, and his congregation as clerk of session, confirmation teacher, and member of a variety of committees.

From synod executives:

The Reverend Landon Whitsitt (Heartland Presbytery) is executive and stated clerk of the Synod of Mid-America. He served as Vice Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010). Whitsitt is the author of Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All. He seeks to continue working with Presbyterian seminaries as they discern the best way to train candidates for the future of ministry.

220th General Assembly young adult advisory delegate observer:

Ruling Elder Christopher McCloskey (Southern New England Presbytery) is a member of First Presbyterian Church in New Haven, Conn. He is a senior at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he is completing his bachelor’s degree in psychology, philosophy, and ancient history. He plans to attend seminary in the fall of 2013. McCloskey was a member of the General Assembly Procedures Committee at this year’s General Assembly.

Staffing the commission is the Reverend Jill Hudson, coordinator for mid council relations (Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency) and Andrew Yeager-Buckley, program assistant (Office of the General Assembly).

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