Stated Clerk announces decision not to stand for third term
The church lives its life through the liturgical seasons. Those seasons remind us of the biblical story and prepare us to celebrate the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. In Advent we live in a season of expectations—the expectations of awaiting the promise of new life and a new way of living.
I firmly believe the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has entered into a new chapter of its common life. That chapter is full of much promise as we continue to follow God into the world. It also is my belief that this new chapter needs new leadership. I am therefore officially announcing that I will not stand for a third term as Stated Clerk.
It has been a great privilege for me to serve in the church in a variety of ministries. In every setting I have met wonderful people who are extraordinary witnesses for God. I have seen unselfish, faithful service from small children to mature saints. All of these images and stories I will carry with me always.
It has been a great honor to work with a talented staff—people giving of themselves because they strongly believe in their call to the work. It is a staff that is always striving to find ways to help, to encourage, and to listen to the wisdom of the greater church. We are blessed to have such servants.
Most of all I want to thank my wife Kathy. She has been an honest supporter and good listener. She has helped me to stay grounded. Her theological insights open my eyes daily to new visions of God.
The Lord has been good to me during these years. God has sent me friends to encourage and friends to challenge. The Holy Spirit has filled in for my many gaps. The gift of faithfulness in the life of Jesus Christ has inspired me to journey on the road with other disciples during this time of great change. I look forward to the future that God is calling the PC(USA) toward.
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Parsons was ordained in 1979 and served two congregations over 15 years. He also served as executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Holston for six and a half years. Parsons began working in the Office of the General Assembly in August 2000 and was elected Stated Clerk for his first term in 2008. A new Stated Clerk will be elected at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), June 18–25, in Portland, Oregon. The work of the Stated Clerk Nomination Committee is underway, and the committee is currently seeking church-wide input.
From Tom Vandergriff (COM Staff Resource Person 502-550-2811)
Since starting this job in April as your COM staff resources person, I have set aside
time to read as much as I can on the topic of church health. I have attended two
church and clergy health seminars and I have asked many of you what you think
healthy and not-so-healthy churches look like. From finances to membership there
is one common thread that marks the unhealthy church. Unhealthy churches do not
have a clear, shared vision and passion for ministry. By contrast, of course, healthy
churches share a clear vision for ministry and a passion for doing that
Churches that are thriving love what they are doing, love ministry, love service, and
love mission in the name of Jesus Christ. Membership decline and lack of money,
though often regarded as problems by congregations, are not the problems. They
are the symptoms. The problems are unclear vision and low passion for ministry.
The solution, then, is clarity of purpose and a renewed passion for fulfilling that
If you think your congregation suffers from these two issues, COM would like to help
your congregation rediscover their vision and passion for ministry. Let me be clear,
COM will not come to your church thinking it has an answer. That would be
ridiculous. What COM would do is walk your congregation through a process to
help it discover its own vision and find ways to ignite its own passion for ministry.
Another mark of a healthy congregation is that it creates its own health. COM
knows it does not have answers and it does not assume problems. Congregations
know their own problems and have their own solutions. COM simply wants to help
congregations utilize tools that give focus to what they already know about
themselves so they can work to create their own greater health.
If you would like a trained team of COM members to come facilitate such a
conversation, I hope you will contact me, or Ben Blake (COM Chair), so we can make
In the meantime, thank you for your wonderful ministry and if we can help your
healthy congregation help itself become healthier, we would love to.
COM Staff Resource Person
On behalf of the Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC), I am pleased to share with you that the New Worshiping Community Seed Grant proposal for Project #1519, Innova was approved for $7,500.