Marilyn Gamm, interim associate pastor of Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon, Wis., is the new chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) Board.
During a brief ceremony at the conclusion of the final report of the 221th General Assembly’s Mission Coordination Committee, Gamm received a stole and cross from outgoing board chair, Matt Schramm, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bay City, Mich.
Before the mantle of leadership — symbolized by a stole — was passed from Schramm to Gamm, PMA executive director Linda Valentine praised Schramm not only for his singular vision in creating and producing the video, GA Floor, that has since gone viral, but especially for his outstanding leadership of the PMA board over the last two years.
“While he may be relatively young as Presbyterians go, Matt is extraordinarily wise,” Valentine said. “I have called on him often for his sound judgment, direction and advice. He has provided outstanding leadership for the Mission Agency board in times of conflict and in times calling for vision and possibility.”
Schramm began his remarks by expressing thanks for Valentine, the PMA board, and staff. “No group of finer servants of Christ can be found,” he said. “To a person, we are so very blessed.”
A husband and father of three daughters, Schramm said that he reserved his deepest appreciation for his family, who have walked with him during his six years of PMA Board service: wife Dana, and daughters Lydia, Natalie, and Evie; the latter only for five, he said, since Evie is only five years old. “Your support, your encouragement, your love mean everything to me,” said Schramm, “and every day I thank God for you and I love you.”
Schramm introduced Gamm, who assumed her two-year term as chair upon the adjournment of the 221st General Assembly. In addition to the stole, Schramm also presented Gamm with a cross. “There’s one unique thing to share about this cross, it’s on a shoestring, much like the work of the board,” he said to laughter. “It’s a constant challenge to inspire, equip, and connect Presbyterians to serve Christ in the world and to do it sometimes on a shoestring.”
After noting that she had “big but also creative … shoes to fill,” Gamm said that she was honored to have been elected by the PMA Board and to serve as chair for the next two years.
“As I begin my service as chair, the image I'd like to lift up is to think of the Presbyterian Mission Agency as your ministry partner in the ‘Great Co-Mission’ church of disciple-making,” said Gamm. “These past two years, I've been particularly inspired and energized by the 1001 new worshiping communities movement, so I also want to invite all of you to join with me these next two years and beyond in praying daily Luke 10:2, ‘God of the harvest, send more laborers into the harvest’ at 10:02 — morning or evening — whichever best fits your schedule.”
Jo Stewart will serve a two-year term as the board’s vice-chair, with her term the same time as Gamm’s. Stewart is a member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., in the Presbytery of Charlotte and the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
Both Gamm and Stewart were elected at the February board meeting and installed at its April meeting.
“I'm excited about the future of the Presbyterian Mission Agency,” Stewart said in an email from North Carolina. “There are challenges, but also opportunities. My hope is that as a board, we can support the agency in strengthening relationships and connections with local congregations and mid councils so that collectively we can face the challenges and live into the possibilities.”
Emily Enders Odom is communications associate for the Office of Communication assigned to the executive director’s office.