PORTLAND, Ore. – On June 21st, Princeton Theological Seminary hosted a breakfast for ruling elder commissioners to the 222nd General Assembly. Tom Kort, associate vice president for advancement, welcomed around 40 guests with greetings and thanks on behalf of the seminary saying, “We want to connect with ruling elders who are also representatives of their churches, and a necessary voice to our denomination in regards to theological education.”
As guests settled into their seats, the newly elected co-moderators arrived to address the body. “Your job as ruling elder is important,” said T. Denise Anderson. Jan Edmiston highlighted their dedication and engagement, “The fact you’re up is extraordinary.” Brian McCollum, director of Alumni Relations agreed, “Your role is vital. This is an exciting time for the body of Christ and church.”
Larissa Kwong Abazia, director of Church Relations and an alumna of Princeton Seminary, gave thoughtful and inspiring words:
There is no such thing as “just being a ruling elder.” You are the leaders of your congregations and, as commissioners to this General Assembly, leaders of our denomination. I hope it was not a surprise to you that you will serve not only this week but also for the next two years until we meet again in St. Louis for the 223rd General Assembly. Your congregations and presbyteries saw the gifts and talents within you to elect each one of you to this time and place.
Afterwards all stood to sing the hymn of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and Craig Barnes, president of the seminary, offered final words of encouragement praising ruling elders for their faithfulness: “We want to serve you. We’re thankful for your work.:”