Former Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons

Former GA Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons discusses his new book at a dinner sponsored by the Board of Pensions. —Photo by Michael Whitman

Despite challenges, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has potential to grow, the Rev. Gradye Parsons said here Sunday.

Parsons, who served as Stated Clerk of the denomination from 2008 to 2016, spoke about his new book, Our Connectional Church – The Hopeful Future of the PC(USA), at a dinner and book launch sponsored by the Board of Pensions. The Board commissioned Parsons to study big and small congregations for signs of growth and hope.

Parsons said he noticed an ethos Presbyterians share which acts much like an underground aquifer. That ethos is accessed in various ways and includes providing a place where people can ask questions and acting on matters of social justice. “Social justice is not anathema to evangelism,” Parsons said. “Social justice is part of true evangelism.”

Following Parsons’ presentation, the Rev. Frank Clark Spencer, president of the Board, offered details on the board’s initiatives to promote clergy and congregational health. Spencer noted that research suggests the church could grow, and that the board is studying how to support that growth. Additionally, Spencer said there is a “persistent gender gap” regarding salaries and benefits which needs to be addressed.