PORTLAND, Ore. The board of directors of the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation selected Heath Rada as the recipient of the 2016 Ernest Trice Thompson Award. The award, the functional equivalent of a lifetime achievement award in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was presented at the Presbyterian Outlook luncheon on June 18.
The award is named for Ernest Trice Thompson, the founder of the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation, its board chair and co-editor for nearly 60 years until his death in 1985. He was an educator, historian, church journalist, leader in the church’s social witness and tireless worker for church union. He also served as moderator of the 99th General Assembly of the PCUS (1959). The award is presented to church leaders who represent these convictions and have given exemplary leadership in their pursuit. They are affirmed as such by board vote upon nomination by the editor.
Those in attendance at the luncheon also had the opportunity to hear from both sets of candidates standing for co-moderator:
- Adan Mairena, a teaching elder from the Presbytery of Philadelphia, with David P. Parker, a ruling elder and lawyer from Salem Presbytery. Mairena relayed his vision of the church to be one of living out “our connectionalism” and reaching out to those on the margins. Parker said he was looking to the future of the church and asking Presbyterians, “What do you want the church to be?”
- Denise Anderson from National Capital Presbytery, with Jan Edmiston of the Presbytery of Chicago. Both are teaching elders. Anderson said, “The church will never look the way it looked 50 years ago … and that’s a good thing!” Edmiston expressed hopes to challenge congregations to figure out what in their neighborhoods is breaking God’s heart and then step in.
Jill Duffield, Outlook editor, said, “as rhetoric gets more shrill and the lines of division deepen … words matter.” She said that the things “critical to our covenant life together” are civility, mutual forbearance and listening to one another. To that end, she said, the Outlook seeks “to be scribes of the kingdom, bringing out treasures new and old.”
The resolution presented to Heath Rada is as follows:
WHEREAS Dr. Heath Rada has served as the moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), sharing with the whole church his passion, joy, warmth and commitment to Christ and Christ’s church;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has demonstrated servant leadership in the local church, the larger church, the community and in every role he has occupied;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has ministered to the vulnerable, seeking to meet the basic needs of those experiencing trauma and upheaval as the CEO of the Greater Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross and as interim CEO of Red Cross chapters in San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Ft. Worth;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has followed the Master’s teaching and been a master educator through word and deed and as the president of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has been a faithful steward of God’s gifts to him as a church and community leader, serving on numerous boards including the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Montreat Conference Center, Presbyterian Homes of North Carolina, Sheltering Arms Hospital, Council for America’s First Freedom and the National Conference of Christians and Jews;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has exuded the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to all he meets, encouraging students to explore the depth and breadth of Scripture as Christian educators, traveling to the ends of the earth to show God’s concern for the vulnerable and answering countless calls and emails with care and grace;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has sought to mine the wisdom of God, earning advanced degrees from Union Presbyterian Seminary and North Carolina State University and receiving honorary degrees from St. Andrews University and Davis and Elkins College;
WHEREAS Dr. Rada has worked tirelessly as the moderator of the 221st General Assembly to further the peace, unity and purity of the church through his call to the church, listening sessions, preaching, teaching, speaking and travel;
WHEREAS through all these efforts he has loved his wife of 50 years, Peggy, and their children, Margaret and Mary Talmage; be it
RESOLVED that on this, the eighteenth day of June, 2016, the board of directors of the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation, Inc., confers upon Dr. Heath Rada, the Ernest Trice Thompson Award for distinctive service to the Presbyterian Church and to those causes The Presbyterian Outlook has advocated throughout its history.