Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieri, and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann , Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly.

Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieri, and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann , Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly. —Photo by: Michael Whitman

After the close of its meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, the 223rd General Assembly tasked the Co-Moderators, Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann with appointing the membership of 14 special committees, commissions, and task forces. Some committees were established or expanded by the 2016 and 2018 General Assemblies in response to recommendations to commissioners from various sources. 

The Assembly approved financial implications for the work of these special entities, for the most part, beginning in 2019 through 2020 when reports will be brought to the 224th General Assembly (2020).

Presbyterians were invited to consider a call to service and apply via an online application form to be considered for appointment by the Co-Moderators.  Hundreds of Presbyterians responded to the call, taking time to reflect about the nature of the work and necessary gifts, experience, and skills need for each special committee, commission, or task force.  

“We’re so grateful for the gifted and faithful people who continue to offer their time and talent to serve the PC(USA),” said Kohlmann.  “Thank you!”

The Co-Moderators have completed appointments for two special entities – the Racism, Truth, and Reconciliation Special Committee and the Moving Forward Implementation Commission.

The Racism, Truth, and Reconciliation Special Committee is “charged with conducting a churchwide listening campaign to hear the voices of peoples long silenced regarding the state of institutional racism and oppression within our church.”

The Special Committee was originally created as a Special Commission in 2016 and reconstituted as a Special Committee by the 223rd General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly and the Special Commission’s Moderator who noted that this entity had no charge to make structural changes.  The 2018 Assembly also changed the composition from 20 members to 14 members; the change from commission to committee allows for church members to be appointed to the membership in addition to ruling and teaching elders.

In accordance with the direction of the 2016 General Assembly requiring that this entity be chaired by a former Moderator or Vice Moderator of the General Assembly, the Reverend Byron Wade, Vice Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) serves as moderator of the Special Committee. The Special Committee will bring a progress report to the 2020 Assembly and its final report with recommendations to the 225th General Assembly in 2022.

Members of the special committee are:

Stanley Bhasker (Presbytery of Geneva)
Amy L. Busse (Indian Nations Presbytery)
Kate Jones Calone (Presbytery of Long Island)
Carlton Johnson (Presbytery of Greater Atlanta)
Ryan Landino (Presbytery of Great Rivers)
Fran Lane-Lawrence (Presbytery of Lake Michigan)
Hiram A. Pérez-Cordero (Presbytery of Greater Atlanta)
Marta Pumroy (Presbytery of East Iowa)
Pam Tajima Praeger (Presbytery of the Inland Northwest)
Miguel A. Rosa-Morales (Presbytery of San Juan)
Angela Ryo (Presbytery of Detroit)
Joe Scrivner (Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley)
Byron Wade (Presbytery of New Hope)
Stella Webster (Presbytery of Santa Fe)

Byron Wade serves as Moderator of the Special Committee.  T. Denise Anderson and Robina Winbush serve as staff resource to the Special Committee.

The Co--Moderators have appointed the members of the Moving Forward Implementation Commission with the mandate and authority to:

    •  ensure compliance and implementation of 223rd General Assembly (2018) action on recommendations from the 2016 Way Forward Commission and the 2016 All-Agency Review Committee,
    • ensure continued implementation of collaborations and commission administrative actions underway as outlined in the reports of the Way Forward Commission and All-Agency Review Committee,
    • coordinate with the 2020 Vision Team,
    • report findings and make recommendations to the 224th General Assembly (2020),
    • working together with the Stated Clerk and the President/Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the commission may secure an outside consultant to address the issues raised in the June 12, 2018, Administrative Action Regarding Trust and Transparency,
    • and direct an evaluation of Shared Services and report to the 224th General Assembly (2020).

 Members of the commission are:

Madeline Alvarez (Presbiterio Del Noroeste)
Debra Avery (Presbytery of San Francisco)
Eric Beene (Presbytery of Savannah)
Jacqueline Barnett Cummings (Presbytery of South Louisiana)
Mathew Eardley (Presbytery of Boise)
Larryetta Ellis (Presbytery of West Virginia)
Marco A. Grimaldo (Presbytery of National Capital)
Cliff Lyda (Presbytery of St. Augustine)
Adan A. Mairena (Presbytery of Philadelphia)
Jo Stewart (Presbytery of Charlotte)
Rachel Sutphin (Presbytery of The Peaks)
James Tse (Presbytery of New York City)

Madeline Alvarez and Marco Grimaldo serve as Co-Moderators of the Commission.  Thomas Hay serves as staff resource to the Commission.

 “We are working purposely and diligently on it, praying, committed to diversity in all its forms,” said Cintrón-Olivieri, about the appointment process.  “The GA Nominating Committee and the GA Committee on Representation are helping with this,” noting the Manual of the General Assembly’s mandate to collaborate with these two committees of the General Assembly.

Co-Moderators Cintrón-Olivieri and Kohlmann will continue their discernment and appointment process when they are in Louisville for the Moderators’ Conference beginning November 15.

A full membership listing of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and Moving Forward Commission and their demographics is available online.