PITTSBURGH — Those who gathered for the National Asian Presbyterian Council banquet on Tuesday evening (July 3) welcomed the Moderator of the 220th General Assembly, the Rev. Neal D. Presa, and his family, who dined with the group.
“I’m very encouraged to see another person of Asian descent be elected as the GA moderator,” said the Rev. Samson Tso, referring to the Rev. Bruce Reyes Chow, also of Philippine descent, who was elected as moderator in 2008. “I’m hoping more (people) will now be interested and ask questions of this faith journey and learn from one another about Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Tso.
More attendees told their heritage stories, including the Rev. Sam Stone, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, N.J., who had recently returned from Burma to visit family and to discern how to help this newly free country experience Jesus Christ. “I want to figure out how to help them in this time of reform; they shouldn’t be alone and are very fragile now.”
Final remarks were made by the Rev. Mei-hui Chen Lai, associate for the Asian Congregation Support Office of the Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries of the General Assembly Mission Council. She is responsible for training Asian congregational leaders and equipping them with theological knowledge and ministerial ability.
Lai opened by saying the Asian communities with whom she is working are very concerned about their home church situations. “We must invite a second-generation pastor to lead these churches,” said Lai. Most of the older generations are concerned that their churches and traditions may die. However, Lai said that they think that if they can bring in the younger generations and give them financial support, “they can lead the church in to the future.”
The Asian leadership training program of the PC(USA) includes extensive classes in Bible interpretation, reform theology, worship and Sacrament, preaching and Presbyterian polity. Participants who attend all classes receive a certificate of course completion from the continuing education office of Princeton Theological Seminary.