The move from an in-person to an online General Assembly has impacted a number of planned luncheons and breakfast meetings next month. However, organizers for the Ruling Elder Luncheon have made other plans. The luncheon is now a Zoom webinar to be held in July.

The webinar, entitled “Celebrating the Call to Serve as a Ruling Elder,” is now scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 7:00–8:00 pm ET. Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be the guest speaker.

“Vilmarie has traveled across the denomination and found much to celebrate and share about the call and the role of ruling elders in the life of the church,” said Martha Miller, manager of ministry, education, and support for the Office of the General Assembly. “This is not about a particular issue or ministry. It is an opportunity to celebrate a great ministry that happens every day and is happening in a new way since this group is not able to be together. It makes discernment a little different.

Cintron-Olivieri says ruling elders play an important role in the ministry work of the church, adding that she was mentored by family and faith siblings who served in this role.

“They were leaders that, understanding their call to serve in this ordained ministry, worked alongside ministers of Word and Sacrament as part of the pastoral team, if you will, on behalf of the local church, presbytery, and denomination at large,” she said. “As I traveled, I have witnessed the faithfulness and commitment of ruling elders of all ages to the work of the church in many different capacities.”

Cintron-Olivieri says ruling elders are at the forefront of the mission work the church performs locally, nationally, and worldwide, whether serving as presbytery moderators, youth leaders, clerks of session, and more.

“We are everywhere! My hope for this webinar is to share these stories of service and hope, and for the participants to be encouraged and empowered to continue their ministries where God has called and placed them, as they feel led by the Holy Spirit,” she said. “In times of pandemic, we continue being church, and the role of the ruling elder continues to be a pivotal one in the life and ministry of the PC(USA).”

In addition to her work as a ruling elder and Co-Moderator, Cintrón-Olivieri has spent a greater part of her career in education, teaching high-school-aged students and adults from across the world.

“The webinar can host up to 500 participants. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions throughout the program,” said Miller. “We’re hoping that if this one goes well, we might have the opportunity to schedule more in the future.”

Click here to register for the webinar.