From Your Synod Moderator

Rev. Ann Laird Jones, Synod Moderator

Dear friends!

We are quickly approaching the beginning whispers of General Assembly 226, which meets June 25-July 4 in Salt Lake City.

These beginning whispers that GA is coming bring me the same glee and joy I feel when I see spring’s newness, summer’s fullness, autumn’s richness, winter’s wisdom. All my life I have attended General Assembly meetings, first in the former PCUS and now in the PCUSA, the reunited denomination of Presbyterians created 41 years ago in Atlanta when the two assemblies came together and walked jubilantly down the streets together. In 1992 I was elected as a commissioner from New Hope Presbytery to attend the 204th Milwaukee assembly and moderate the Commissioner Committee on Peacemaking and International Relations. Sharing worship and communion with 3,000 Presbyterians and ecumenical partners is unforgettably lifechanging. Watching the work of the church in action is lifegiving.

Here is a description of General assembly published by the Office of the General Assembly:

…The General Assembly consists of commissioners elected by presbyteries. Half of the commissioners will be ruling elders, half will be teaching elders. Few will ever have been commissioners to the General Assembly before, but most will have served in one of the other governing bodies of our church: the session, which provides care and oversight of a local congregation; the presbytery, which provides care and oversight of a group of congregations; or the synod which provides care and oversight of several presbyteries.

It reviews the work of synods, resolves controversies in the church, is responsible for matters of common concern for the whole church, and serves as a symbol of unity for the church.

The General Assembly has several specific responsibilities outlined in Chapter 3 of the Book of Order. The assembly seeks to protect our church from errors in faith and practice, is responsible for assuring that the expression of our theology remains true to the biblical standards in our historic confessions. The General Assembly presents a witness for truth and justice in our community and in the world community. It sets priorities for the church and establishes relationships with other churches or ecumenical bodies.

Since Covid, General Assembly has been different. When I attended as a Commissioner from St. Andrew Presbytery 2 years ago, the Commissioner Committees met in person, but the assembly met virtually. This year’s Commissioner Committees with meet virtually, and then rush to Salt Lake City to meet in person as an assembly. Everything will feel different. However, the heartbeat of our denomination beats strong! We will adjust! And, we will rejoice as we are constantly led to move forward and work together, even, and especially in times of adversity.

Today I am presenting the list of all the commissioners from our Synod, from each of our 12 presbyteries: teaching elders, ruling elders, young adult advisory delegates. I am asking that each of you, and each church in our Synod, take this list, put it on your refrigerator, your desk, in your Bible, someplace where you will see it regularly, and pray for each one of these commissioners, as they eagerly prepare for the critical work of GA226. Pray for our  Presbyteries. Pray for our Synod.

Here are OUR Synod Commissioners:

Western Ky: Jen Evans (TE), Rich Evans (RE), n/a (YAAD).

Mid-Kentucky: Marion McClure Taylor (TE), Perry Chang (RE), Shelby Luckenbill, (YAAD).

Transylvania: Curtis Christian (TE), Catesby Woodford (RE), Brooks Pinney (YAAD).

Mid-South: Mark Howland (TE), Sherila Tuggle (RE), Ellie Stewart (YAAD).

Middle Tennessee: Erin Howton-Angel (TE), Jane Herring (TE), Carol Foster (RE), Judy Venable (RE), Anne Catherine (AC) Oeser (YAAD).

East Tennessee: Louden Young (TE), Brynne Crowe (TE), Ryan Brown (RE), Jaclyn Beeler (RE), Lauren Gahan (YAAD).

Holston: Maggie Rust (TE), Kathi Carey (RE), Maggie Jacobs (YAAD).

St. Andrew: Jerry Long (TE), Greg Patton (RE), n/a (YAAD).

Mississippi: Leon Bracey (TE), Christopher Crotwell (TE-alt), Susan Sumrall (RE), n/a (YAAD).

North Alabama: Tom Lewis (TE), Mark Icenogle (RE), Avy Sage Elmore (YAAD).

Sheppards & Lapsley: Nick Reed (TE), Debra Love (RE), Abby Bunn (YAAD).

South Alabama: Jonathan Wallace: TE; Leo Denton (RE), n/a (YAAD).

Marion McClure Taylor, Commissioner from Mid-Kentucky, has been nominated for the office of Moderator by her Presbytery! We are really proud of you, Marion. Your Synod is with you in prayer and joy!

Peace be with each of you. May we hold one another close in prayer in these days!