Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, has announced that she intends to resign her position, effective July 10. In an email sent to friends and colleagues, Valentine stated that “my decision has little to do with recent events. It is much more about my sense of call.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s leadership has been rocked by a series of difficulties in recent months – including an ethics inquiry involving the 1001 New Worshipping Communities program, overspending by the 2013 Youth Triennium and a Special Offerings advertising campaign that some denounced as racist.
Roger Dermody, the denomination’s former deputy executive director for mission – serving directly under Valentine – has sued the PC(USA) for defamation. He and three others involved in the 1001 inquiry lost their jobs following the controversy.
In 2014, the General Assembly confirmed Valentine – a lawyer and Presbyterian ruling elder – for an unprecedented third four-year term as executive director. She wrote in her email that “it’s time for the organization to have a leader with new enthusiasm and imagination to lead and for me to go where God calls me.”
Here is the text of Valentine’s statement:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since 2006, I have had a strong sense of call to serve as Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Recently, through prayer and discernment, I have determined that God is calling me to conclude my season of leadership and to move on in my life. Thus, I am resigning as Executive Director effective July 10. I am doing this on my own initiative, and with trust and faith in God.
Serving the Mission Agency and the church has been a great privilege. I have witnessed God at work through faithful Presbyterians and partners in a myriad of ways: transforming lives, raising up faithful leaders, giving voice to the voiceless, hope to the despairing, opportunity to the disadvantaged, justice to the oppressed and the love of Christ to the lost and lonely. I am exceedingly grateful to have ministered with talented, faithful and committed colleagues in the Mission Agency and the other agencies and parts of the church. My colleagues have been, and continue to be, a blessing to the church and all whom we serve. I am proud of what we have accomplished together in these nine years.
My decision has little to do with recent events. It is much more about my sense of call. The past few months have been difficult for the Agency, our staff and board, and it was important that I continue in leadership during that time. Throughout, our commitment to mission and ministry has been unwavering. I am so very grateful for my colleagues who have continued to be fully dedicated to our ministries, serving the church and Christ in the world.
I continue to have a passion for the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Mission Agency have tremendous resources of relationships, talent, experience and funds. The needs of the world are great, and we cannot do all that we feel called to do or that many constituents want us to do. And yet we can do much. Planning is already beginning on a Mission World Plan that will guide the Agency through 2020. It’s time for the organization to have a leader with new enthusiasm and imagination to lead and for me to go where God calls me.
In Christ’s service,