A historic online meeting Wednesday between two South Carolina presbyteries, the Presbytery of New Harmony and Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, produced a unanimous endorsement for two pastors standing for co-moderators of the 226th General Assembly.

Image of the Rev. CeCe Armstrong

The Rev. CeCe Armstrong

Image of The Rev. Tony Larson

The Rev. Tony Larson

In March, the Rev. CeCe Armstrong, associate pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church on St. James Island, part of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, and the Rev. Tony Larson, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Surfside, which is in the Presbytery of New Harmony, announced they’d be standing together. Also standing for co-moderators on June 30 in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City will be the Rev. Dr. Marian McClure Taylor and the Rev. Danny Morales.

Wednesday’s meeting was co-moderated by the Rev. Ashley Cheek, New Harmony Presbytery’s moderator-elect, and Dr. Priscilla Holtzclaw, vice-moderator of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery. The Rev. Andy James, the stated clerk of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, provided the technical support needed to make the hour-long joint meeting a success. Watch the proceedings here.

The Rev. Dr. Ella Busby, Associate for Pastoral Concerns in the Presbytery of New Harmony, read Judges 4:1-9 and 14, the story that includes this comment from Barak for Deborah, the judge: “If you go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Armstrong and Larson “will go together to carry out the will of the Almighty God,” Busby said.

The vote to endorse Larson and Armstrong came in the form of a resolution of endorsement, read by David Yandle, Charleston Atlantic Presbytery’s Stated Clerk. The resolution included these words: “Through prayer, mutual discussion and encouragement of their congregations and colleagues, Rev. Armstrong and Rev. Larson have committed themselves to a cooperative effort to lead the Geneal Assembly in the discernment of God’s will for our denomination and the active implementation of Jesus Christ’s Great Commission. Now therefore the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery and the Presbytery of New Harmony joyfully and unreservedly endorse the candidacy of Rev. Cecilia D. Armstrong and Rev. Anthoy L. Larson for the positions of co-moderators of the 226th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”

Larson and Armstrong appeared together from St. James Presbyterian Church, “where I had the privilege of sitting in on a Bible study with CeCe. That was a joy,” Larson said.

“God is the one who ultimately ties us together in the things God calls us to do,” Armstrong said. “It’s a wonderful time to do this in such a time as this.”

Session members from both churches spoke about their pastors. Clarissa Whaley, a member of the St. James Presbyterian Church session, noted “there are times in our journey when we are privileged to witness the call of God, and today is one such time.” She called Armstrong “a stranger to no one who loves, and there’s nothing you can do about it. She takes daily moments to transparently serve a life lesson and to extend God’s love to everyone she encounters. … She is qualified and ready to serve God along with the Rev. Tony Larson. As witnesses to this call, we are indeed blessed to endorse, support and encourage her along the way.”

Dr. Diana Scroggins, a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church’s session and the church’s director of music and arts, called Larson a “dynamic, innovative and caring pastor” who has served Trinity for nearly nine years.

“Under the leadership of Tony and the Finance Committee, our congregation has greatly reduced its longstanding debt,” Scroggins said. “As one who has listened to Tony’s sermons for nine years, I can attest how God speaks through those sermons. We believe [Larson and Armstrong] have gifts which may enable them to lead and guide the Church at this time.”

In their prayer to close the historic meeting, Larson thanked the Almighty for being “a God who calls, a God who calls your people to serve and gifts them and equips them for service.”

Armstrong expressed gratitude to God, “that you hold us accountable by those you have placed in our lives, and by the Holy Spirit. While you have given us this blessing through the voices that have spoken today, we promise to be still and know that you are God.”