A Full Slate For Vice-Moderator Nominees For The PC(USA) 220th GA
After a burst of activity on Tuesday that filled out the field we now have all five Vice-Moderator selections for our five Moderator candidates. Here they are in alphabetical order:
TE Jeff Kerhbiel (standing with TE Janet Edwards) - Jeff is the pastor of Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. and has served two other churches in urban settings. He did his undergraduate work at Hope College and his M.Div. is from McCormick. He also has a D.Min. from Columbia and has recently published a short (60 page) book on Reflecting with Scripture on Community Organizing. Church of the Pilgrims is associated with The Pilgrimage Seminar Center which is a service-learning hostel for groups doing work in that area. You can follow his church on Twitter at @pilgrimsdc.A few general observations. First, what's with this grouping of names in three consecutive letters of the alphabet?
TE Shamaine Chambers King (standing with TE Randy Branson) - Shamanine serves as the pastor of Windsor Presbyterian Church in Windsor Heights, Iowa. From her Facebook page we know that she has also served internships in Austin, Texas, and as a pastoral assistant in Virginia. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Austin for her M.Div.
TE Hope Italiano Lee (standing with TE Robert Austell) - The lead pastor (their title) at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church in Bradenton, Florida. She is a grad of Eckerd College, studied at Princeton, has her M.Div. from Columbia and her D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell. She has long been active with farm worker ministry in Florida as well as working with youth. She also preached at the opening worship service of the recent FOP/ECO gathering in Orlando. You can hear her preach in the sermons posted on the church web site and follow her on Twitter at @pastorhope.
TE Sanghyuan James Lee (standing with TE Susan Krummel) - He is the pastor of Korean Community Presbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina, with an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and an D.Min. from Union PCSE, Richmond. The web site press release tell us about his extensive experience working with Korean Presbyterian Churches on the presbytery and synod level and currently serves as the Adjunct Executive of the National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches.
TE Tara Spuhler McCabe (standing with TE Neal Presa) - In what is probably a first, the Rev. Presa introduced Rev. McCabe as his Vice-Moderator selection in a live streaming video. Nice social media introduction but the audio on Tara was tough to hear. Rev. McCabe is the Designated Associate for Congregational Life at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Between the Moderatorial web site, the church web site and the NYAPC blog we don't get much specific information on her previous positions but a general trend in her congregational, presbytery and national work is in youth work. We are informed that Neal and Tara first worked together on a Young Clergy Pastors Event. She did her undergraduate work at Agnes Scott and has her M.Div. from McCormick. She has a presence on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
OK, on a more serious note, let's have a look at some of the demographics across the whole group of ten - five Mod and five Vice-Mod candidates. First, geographically we are mostly along the eastern seaboard. There are two west of the Mississippi and none from the Rockies westward. Second, the educational backgrounds are pretty firmly Presbyterian. There is a lot of Presbyterian heritage in this group with famous ancestors with Presbyterian connections, mention of multi-generational Presbyterian families, and a lot of Presbyterian education. There are a couple of Presbyterian Colleges in there, eight of ten of the M.Div.'s are from PC(USA) seminaries (and the other two are both from Yale). Between the M.Div.'s and the D.Min.'s there are a couple from SFTS, from McCormick and from CTS. Princeton is under-represented (one degree) and Dubuque, Johnson C. Smith and Pittsburgh don't appear. In the graduate degree category Gordon-Conwell seems popular.
But the most noticeable item, at least to me, is that they are all teaching elders. I am faulting no one for this because after watching what the position of Moderator of the General Assembly has become I don't see how there can be many ruling elders who can put that much of their lives on hold for two years to do everything the Moderator is expected to do. I was hoping that the report of the Committee to review Biennial Assemblies would at least acknowledge this but I don't see this in the report.
Based on past history, this is probably the field of nominees standing for the office of Moderator, but there is still time for additional nominees to declare. We now await the official booklet with the information on each nominee and whatever additional endorsements each might receive. Lots to reflect on as GA gets closer and once the information book comes out I'll probably have some additional comments and maybe handicap the field.