GA News: Four aspire to be next Stated Clerk

SAN JOSE – Four candidates have stepped forth to fill the office of Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). On June 22, the late Sunday afternoon session of the 218th General Assembly heard nominating speeches for the four men seeking to fill the office being vacated at the end of the General Assembly by Clifton Kirkpatrick,

who has served 12 years and decided not to seek a fourth term.

Anna Case Winters, speaking on behalf of the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee, spoke in support of Gradye Parsons, director of operations for the Office of the General Assembly and an associate stated clerk for the past eight years. Parsons earlier served as presbytery executive for Holson Presbytery in Tennessee and before that as a church pastor. Winters highlighted Parsons’ collaborative, consultative style of leadership and called him a “quintessential, non-anxious presence.”

Three other candidates considered but not chosen by the nominating committee were proposed as alternatives.

Doug Brower nominated Edward H. Koster, the “best Sunday school teacher my church has ever had.” Koster is the stated clerk for the Presbytery of Detroit. He earlier served as pastor of Calvary Church in Ann Arbor, Mich. for 10 years. He is also a lawyer in private practice.

Robert Scotland nominated William “Bill” Tarbell, pastor of the Saluda Church in Saluda, S.C. He previously served as pastor for other churches in South Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming, Missouri and South Carolina. Scotland listed a host of areas of service Tarbell has provided from inner city programs for children to ecumenical organizations.

And Debra Cenko nominated Winfield “Casey” Jones, pastor of First Church, Pearland, Tex. Cenko highlighted Jones’ 29 years of pastoral ministry, undergirded by education in law school and service in a law office. She also emphasized his pastoral care and passionate prayer life. Jones was a candidate for Stated Clerk once before, challenging Kirkpatrick in 2000.

The assembly will elect the PC(USA)’s next stated clerk on Friday morning, June 27, to serve for a four-year term.