GA News: Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick receives Andrew Murray Award

The Witherspoon Society held its award luncheon on Sunday June 22 where it presented the Andrew Murray Award to Clifton Kirkpatrick “in grateful recognition of his good spirited ministry as stated clerk, his commitment to ecumenical partnerships,

eloquence and courage as the public voice of our church.” The Andrew Murray Award is given to honor individuals whose Christian service and witness reflect the Witherspoon Society’s commitment to peace and justice. Witherspoon Society co-moderator Rev. Trina Zelle read a letter written by Murray’s widow in which she expressed her appreciation for Kirkpatrick saying “no matter how heated the topic gets, we can always count on Cliff to make things okay.”

“The Witherspoon Society is in an interesting place within the General Assembly,” said Kirkpatrick, on receiving the award. “There is a passionate sense that the church is fundamentally wrong on a number of issues of justice while at the same time believing that the Assembly is so right on other justice issues,” he shared. “The greatest gift that you have offered the church,” said Kirkpatrick, “is that you have helped to hold those two together.”

Kirkpatrick held up a stack of prepared remarks and teased those present saying, “I’ve got a stack of prepared remarks this thick, and none of them are for you!” Pre-planned or not, Kirkpatrick’s remarks were received with applause and a standing ovation. “Our fundamental call as Christians,” challenged Kirkpatrick, “is to make this a better world.”