The Rev. Neal D. Presa, pastor of Middlesex (NJ) Presbyterian Church has been endorsed by the Presbytery of Elizabeth in New Jersey as the first candidate for moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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

“We are proud to present Dr. Presa as a candidate for moderator of the General Assembly. He is the first person to be nominated by Elizabeth Presbytery for this office in its nearly 200-year history,” said the Rev. Greg Albert, interim executive presbyter. “He is an exceptional pastor, leader, and theologian. I can’t imagine anyone better qualified.”

The Filipino-American graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and Drew University (M.Phil. and Ph.D.). At Drew Presa was a Henry Luce Foundation Graduate Fellow for the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts.

He also studied at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, CA and is an adjunct faculty member at  Somerset Christian College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Presa has served the PC(USA) at all levels and has also been heavily engaged in global ecumenical relations. He is moderator of Elizabeth Presbytery and serves as chair of the General Assembly Special Committee on the Heidelberg Catechism.

Presa served two terms on the General Assembly Council, including one term (2003-2004) as vice-chair. He has also served on the Committee on Theological Education and on the board of trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Ecumenically, Presa recently concluded his second term as convener of the Caribbean and North American Area Council (CANAAC) of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on whose Executive Committee he also served. He represented the World Alliance of Reformed Churches at the Faith and Order Plenary Commission of the World Council of Churches and at the Vatican Symposium on “Harvesting the Fruits.” 

“I am humbled by this affirmation of the presbytery to put my name forward as a candidate for moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I offer myself as a pastor, ecumenist, and liturgical theologian committed to praying and working towards what Jesus Christ prayed, ‘that they may all be one,’” Presa said. “I seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace at all levels of the church, and how our unity as a body impacts ministries in our local congregations, and the gospel witness. We must reclaim our unity in the God who gathers us in worship and sends us out into our communities and, indeed the whole world to invest and share our lives in others.”

Presa and his wife live with their two sons in Middlesex, NJ.