Fresh from the seminary, the first General Assembly gathering was exciting and impactful for the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II. The future Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recently reflected on his first Assembly.

Eager to serve, Nelson found himself running the mimeograph machine during the GA. Not only did it provide him with a behind-the-scenes look at how the Assembly takes place, but it allowed him to see what the future might hold for people of color in leadership roles of the church.

The Rev. Robert Newbold Jr. was active in the civil rights movement and other organizations in the Baltimore area in the 1960s and served on the Citizens Planning and Housing Association and the Governor’s Commission on Juvenile Delinquency. He was also elected Associate Stated Clerk at the 187th General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1975).

During Nelson’s first interaction with the Assembly, he got to see Newbold at work. The Baltimore pastor found himself filling in for the Stated Clerk during proceedings and Nelson took notice.