Editor’s note: this story has been updated as of Nov. 29.
Just for the record: This is a time of significant transition for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
An announcement is expected soon – perhaps early December – on who the nominee will be to serve as the agency’s new executive director. David Crittenden was named acting executive director for the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) after Tony De La Rosa, the interim executive director, resigned abruptly in September.
On Nov. 27, PMA announced that Earline Williams, the agency’s deputy executive director for shared services and its chief financial officer, is leaving for “a new season of service with her family in Philadelphia.” Williams, an accountant, joined PMA in 2013, having been brought into that position by Linda Valentine, a lawyer who served as PMA’s former executive director. The announcement of Williams’ departure states that “planning is underway for temporary leadership succession until more permanent plans can be made.”
There also have been a series of recent departures from the Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area.
On Nov. 14, Charles (Chip) Hardwick announced he was resigning as director of that ministry, with his last day being Dec. 12. Hardwick said at the time, “I’m still discerning where God is calling me,” and that he hopes to get back closer to congregational ministry.
Vera Karn White, coordinator of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative, announced on Facebook on Nov. 29 that she intends to retire, effective March 2, 2018. “For five years, I have been telling everyone that I have the best job in the world,” White wrote, but she cited a series of family considerations that require her attention.
“I believe that God is up to something amazing in the church and that new worshiping communities are at the heart of that,” White wrote. “I am absolutely sure that God is even now preparing someone else to lead this movement into its next stage,” encouraging people to consider applying for the 1001 coordinator’s position, which has been posted.
Charles Wiley, who had been PMA’s associate director for Theology, Worship and Education Ministries, left not long before that to become director of major gifts at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
And Michelle Bartel, who had served as coordinator for theological education for PMA, left in early October to become pastor of East Side Presbyterian Church in Ashtabula, Ohio.
The PMA departures also come at a time when a lot of top-level scrutiny is being given to the structure and functioning of the six Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) agencies – particularly by the Way Forward Commission and the All Agency Review Committee.
Way Forward moderator Mark Hostetter, a minster from New York, announced Nov. 27 that the commission’s entire three-hour meeting on Nov. 29 will be held in closed session, “in order to consider with sensitivity the personnel implications of structural alternatives.”