Recognizing his efforts to make the Presbyterian Publishing Corp. an online bookseller, the 222nd General Assembly (2016) confirmed Marc Lewis for a third term Thursday to lead the agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
“I hope that you find PPC’s offerings as valuable tools for your ministry,” Lewis said. “For those churches that have adopted Glory to God, thank you. For those yet to adopt, I hope you will encourage your church to consider.”
Commissioners also confirmed James G. Rissler to his first term as president and chief executive officer of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program Inc.
“We often speak of being a connectional church,” Rissler said. “We have come together with different backgrounds, different interests and different passions. What we see here today and have throughout the General Assembly is that we come together – we are connectional.”
During Lewis’ first two terms, he helped PPC become a major online business. He also led the organization during the development and publication of the well-received new hymnal for the denomination, Glory to God, the first new Presbyterian hymnal since 1990.
He also took the opportunity to praise retiring Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons.
“When I was new at the Presbyterian Center, Gradye stood out as a kind and gracious brother to me,” he said. “He told me that we came from the same dirt. I took that as a nod that we both grew up in Tennessee and we both attended the University of Tennessee. Gradye comes from some sort of rare and special dirt. He has a way of making every one of us feel like we are his sister or brother. May we all learn from his example.”
“Gradye, I will truly miss you,” he said. “… May your days be bright, and very orange.” (That’s the color of the University of Tennessee.)
Rissler was elected by the PILP board of directors last October to a four-year term as president effective Jan. 1, 2015. He joined PILP in 1999 as vice president of finance and administration and was elected to the position of senior vice president in 2004. Prior to joining PILP, he spent 17 years in the banking industry, most recently serving as a vice president with PNC Bank.
Rissler said the success the program has achieved can be attributed to a great many people.
“This connectional nature is at the foundation of the PILP,” he said. “Our Presbyterian investors in South Carolina fund Presbyterian loans in Oklahoma. Investors in Utah fund loans in New Jersey. By doing this together, we are promoting church growth and saving borrowers money, so that they can use that saved money for mission and ministry.
“The program works well. It works well because of careful consultation and underwriting, responsible and dedicated borrowing congregations, and the tremendous support that we get from presbyteries and synods.”
Rissler thanked former PILP president Ken Grant for hiring him 17 years ago.
“He gave me an opportunity to give back,” he said of Grant. “He gave me the opportunity to answer my call; to not just bury my talents, but to use them in service to and to further the mission of Jesus.”
Other assembly actions on the recommendations from the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, the Presbyterian Publishing Corp. and Foundation Committee are available on PC-Biz at https://www.pc-biz.org/#/committee/577/business.