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

Presa selected the members for one General Assembly task force and two special committees on the authorization of the 220th General Assembly (2012).

  • The National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force is charged with reviewing, assessing, and renewing the vision for racial ethnic ministries within the PC(USA).  Among the issues the task force will address is the pressing need for language access that is culturally competent and sensitive.  The task force will report its findings and recommendations to the 221st General Assembly (2014).  The assembly’s mandate to the task force grows out of assembly business item 05-12.
  •  Because the 220th General Assembly (2012) voted to begin the process of amending The Book of Confessions to include the Confession of Belhar, the Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar is charged to study the confession.  In addition to study, the special committee is charged with providing education about the Confession of Belhar throughout the church.  If the special committee recommends inclusion of the Confession of Belhar in The Book of Confessions – and the 221st General Assembly (2014) approves the proposal – it will be sent to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative vote. A two-thirds majority is required for approval. Background on the special committee is found in assembly business item 18-01.
  •  The Special Committee on the Funding of Theological Institutions is charged with the review of the funding relationship of theological institutions to the General Assembly and the whole church.  The special committee, which has been asked to propose a strengthened funding system for the support of theological institutions by the church, will report to the 221st General Assembly (2014).  The assembly’s mandate to the special committee grows out of assembly business item 10-18, recommendation D.2.

“Today I am pleased to announce the appointment of a diverse group of women and men of all ages who represent a diversity of racial ethnic communities, a wide geography, and a breadth of theological perspectives,” Presa said. “Each has responded to Christ’s call to serve the PC(USA) in this significant way. All bring a wealth of gifts, experience, and a deep commitment to the future well-being of the church in all its expressions.”

Presa said that the appointments came following extensive consultation with various groups and staff across the church. Staff services were provided by Ruling Elder Valerie Small, assistant stated clerk and manager for General Assembly nominations.

“In some cases, I went beyond what the assembly required in terms of whom to consult as a way to seek the widest array of advice, counsel, and wisdom on the appointment process, gifts needed for particular entities, and the actual persons who would be nominated and appointed,” said Presa.

Members of the National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force:

  • The Reverend Paul Junggap Huh (chairperson), Greater Atlanta Presbytery, At-Large
  • The Reverend Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario, New York City Presbytery, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women
  • Ruling Elder Nahida Halaby Gordon, Muskingum Valley Presbytery, General Assembly Committee on Representation (GACOR)
  • The Reverend Joey Lee, San Jose Presbytery, Presbytery Leadership
  • The Reverend Buddy D. Monahan, Santa Fe Presbytery, Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC)
  • Ruling Elder Ricardo Moreno, San Gabriel Presbytery, Racial Ethnic Caucus Leadership
  • The Reverend Byron Wade, New Hope Presbytery, Racial Ethnic Church Leadership
  • Mr. Ngwa Numfor,  Elizabeth Presbytery, Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) Observer

Staffing the special committee is the Reverend Sterling Morse, coordinator for cross-cultural ministries and congregational support for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

“I share the concern of the racial ethnic caucuses in the 220th General Assembly’s action that limited the membership of the new National Racial Ethnic Ministries Task Force to just seven persons,” Presa said. “Although a body of this size might be considered too small for the complex and comprehensive scope of the task force’s work, I have the utmost confidence in the gifts and abilities of these seven women and men.”

Presa noted that the seven members come from all the racial ethnic communities and have a common commitment to undertaking the task force’s mandate in such a way that he expects frequent consultation will occur throughout its work.  “I am pleased that Paul Huh will serve as chair,” Presa added.  “As one who is committed to a multicultural church, a leader in Asian-American ministries, and a former presbytery moderator and vice moderator, Paul will ably lead the task force.”

Members of the Special Committee on the Belhar Confession:

  • The Reverend Clifton Kirkpatrick (co-chairperson), Mid-Kentucky Presbytery
  • Ruling Elder Matilde Moros, (co-chairperson), Hudson River Presbytery
  • The Reverend Edwin Antonio Gonzalez-Castillo, San Juan Presbytery
  • The Reverend Karen Herbst-Kim, Blackhawk Presbytery               
  • The Reverend Cynthia Holder Rich, Heartland Presbytery  
  • Ruling Elder Susan Krivenko, Elizabeth Presbytery
  • The Reverend Mark A. Lomax, Greater Atlanta Presbytery
  • The Reverend Albert Franklin Masters III, Foothills Presbytery
  • The Reverend Eliana Maxim, Seattle Presbytery
  • Ruling Elder Rodger Y. Nishioka, Greater Atlanta Presbytery
  • The Reverend Kevin Park, Newark Presbytery        
  • The Reverend Catherine J. S. Purves, Pittsburgh Presbytery
  • Ruling Elder Brandt Shields,   John Calvin Presbytery
  • The Reverend Jerry Tankersley, Los Ranchos Presbytery
  • Ruling Elder Elizabeth Raver Wagner, Charlotte Presbytery                                     

Staffing the special committee are the Reverend Charles A. Wiley, coordinator for the office of Theology and Worship for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and The Reverend Robina M. Winbush, associate stated clerk and director of the department of Ecumenical and Agency Relationships for the Office of the General Assembly.

“The women and men who have accepted the call to serve on this special committee will help to educate the church on the historical, theological, and contextual background of this confession in the Reformed family,” Presa said. “We have in its two co-chairs, Clifton Kirkpatrick and Matilde Moros, leaders committed to the Reformed tradition in all its diversity. With the addition of one Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) and one Theological Student Advisory Delegate (TSAD), both of whom are ruling elders and therefore full members of this special committee, they will bring a new generation’s perspective on consideration of this confession.”

Members of the Special Committee to Review the Funding for Theological Institutions:

  • The Reverend Laura Mariko Cheifetz (chairperson), Greater Atlanta Presbytery, At-Large
  • The Reverend Rosemary C. Mitchell, Genesee Valley Presbytery, At-Large
  • Ruling Elder William E. Scheu, St. Augustine Presbytery, At-Large
  • The Reverend Mindy Douglas, Salem Presbytery, Member, Committee on Theological Education (COTE)
  • The Reverend José Irizarry, San Juan Presbytery, COTE Member
  • The Reverend Brian Blount, The James Presbytery, PC(USA) Seminary President
  • The Reverend Jeffrey F. Bullock, Seattle Presbytery, PC(USA) Seminary President
  • The Reverend Paul T. Roberts, Sr., Greater Atlanta Presbytery, PC(USA) Seminary President
  • The Reverend Theodore J. Wardlaw, Grace Presbytery, PC(USA) Seminary President
  • The Reverend Frank Yamada, Chicago Presbytery, PC(USA) Seminary President
  •  The Reverend Joyce Emery, Olympia Presbytery, Member, Presbyterian Mission Agency Board
  • The Reverend Chip Hardwick, Great Rivers Presbytery, Director, Theology, Worship and Education, Presbyterian Mission Agency
  • The Reverend Lee Hinson-Hasty, Coastal Carolina Presbytery, COTE Coordinator        
  • Mr. Colin Pettigrew, Foothills Presbytery, Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) Observer

Staffing the special committee is Ruling Elder Gary W. Luhr, executive director of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

“Although our seminaries are one of the crown jewels of the PC(USA), where women and men in every generation prepare to respond to Christ’s call to serve in the church and world, I have found that denominational support of the Theological Education Fund has been disproportionate to both the actual needs of the seminaries and the vital relationship they share with the PC(USA),” said Presa. “This special committee has been given the important task of reviewing that funding relationship. I am grateful for the broad array of sisters and brothers who have accepted this call to serve, as they bring their expertise and gifts to the task. Laura Cheifetz will bring able leadership to the special committee with her broad background in theological education work, ecumenism, and a proven commitment to supporting our seminaries.”

For complete bios of the special committee members, visit the OGA website