Berkeley, CA. — The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick has been nominated for his third four-year term as the stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA. Rev. Kirkpatrick has been seated as the highest governing official to the PCUSA since 1996. The committee’s unanimous vote came on Jan. 28 in Berkeley CA.
“Through our process of evaluation, reflection and prayer, we have concluded that the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick has served Christ well, ministering to the whole church. Looking to the future, we believe the PC(USA) will be well-served by his continuing leadership,” said the Rev. Sandra Pierce, moderator of the Assembly Stated Clerk Review/Nomination Committee.
Kirkpatrick directed the PCUSA’s Global Mission office for 15 years before becoming stated clerk. The 2004 election will begin on June 26 in Richmond VA, during the 216th General Assembly.
Kirkpatrick will be opposed by at least one other candidate. The Rev. Bob Davis, of Escondido, CA, the executive director of the Presbyterian Forum, a PCUSA renewal group, announced his candidacy earlier this month. The Rev. Linn “Rus” Howard, of Venetia, PA, informally announced his intention to run.
Both opponents criticized Kirkpatrick for an “unwillingness” to “uphold and defend” the PCUSA constitution, specifically on its ban on the ordination of sexually active gay and lesbian Presbyterian.
However, the nomination committee said Rev. Kirkpatrick has “fulfilled the responsibilities of General Assembly Stated Clerk with competence, with much pastoral sensitivity, with appropriate firmness and tact, with a large measure of common sense and uncommon wisdom, with obvious Christian faith and conviction.”
The following is the full text of the stated clerk review nomination committee as released on January 29, 2004.
The Stated Clerk Review/Nomination Committee is pleased to declare its intention to nominate the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick to serve a third four-year term as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
At a November 24-25, 2003, meeting, the committee conducted an end of term evaluation of Kirkpatrick’s work, having sought and received input from throughout the PC(USA) and from ecumenical partners. During this meeting, Kirkpatrick was interviewed in relation to his performance during his last term.
The conclusion of the Committee was that the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick has fulfilled the responsibilities of General Assembly Stated Clerk with competence, with much pastoral sensitivity, with appropriate firmness and tact, with a large measure of common sense and uncommon wisdom, with obvious Christian faith and conviction. The Committee strongly affirmed his job performance during the term of office which will end with the 2004 General Assembly.
In compliance with General Assembly Standing Rules Section G-1c(1)(f)(1), on December 19, 2003 the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick wrote to the Committee declaring his sense of God’s call to seek re-nomination to another term as Stated Clerk. In his letter Kirkpatrick stated that if nominated and elected, he would “look forward to the great privilege of continuing to serve this church for another four years as its Stated Clerk. As I am sure you know, I have a deep love for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, and for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which is called to be a living expression of the body of Christ in the world.”
Speaking for the Committee, moderator Sandy Peirce said, “Through our process of evaluation, reflection and prayer, we have concluded that the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick has served Christ well, ministering to the whole church. Looking to the future, we believe the PCUSA will be well-served by his continuing leadership.”
Meeting in Berkeley, CA, on January 28, 2004, the Stated Clerk Review/Nomination Committee voted unanimously to declare its intention to nominate the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick to serve a third four-year term as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.
The Stated Clerk Review/Nomination Committee, elected by the 2003 General Assembly, consists of ministers Sandy Peirce, El Dorado Hills, CA, chair; Thomas Are, Jr., Prairie Village, KS; Karen Dimon, DeWitt, NY; John Goodman, Elizabethtown, NC; and Charles Heyward, Charleston, SC; and elders Cynthia Joe, San Francisco, CA, vice chair; Stephen Grace, Midland, MI; Suzanne Souder, Mechanicsburg, PA; and Kathy Walker, St. Petersburg, FL. Staff to the Committee is Katherine Runyeon, stated clerk of the Presbytery of San Francisco, Berkeley, CA.
The following is the full text of Rev. Kirkpatrick’s statement accepting the nomination.
Dear Presbyterian Friends and Colleagues:
I am extremely grateful for the affirmation of my ministry by the Stated Clerk Review/ Nomination Committee elected by the 215th General Assembly. I am pleased and honored to learn of their intention to re-nominate me for another term as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.
It continues to be a great honor to serve this church as its Stated Clerk and to work closely with so many other faithful Presbyterians in seeking to build up our church as the body of Christ in accord with the wonderful core values of our Constitution that have been and continue to be at the heart of my ministry:
· that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the Word of God
· that the Great Ends of the Church are our common calling
· that we uphold a generous orthodoxy growing out of scripture and the confessions that affirms the great themes of the Reformed faith
· that we hold to an ecclesiology built on covenant community and a commitment to Christian unity.
In partnership with my colleague, John Detterick, I have spent much of the last three years in consultation with 115 of our presbyteries and synods. A number of common themes have emerged in those dialogues and conversations:
· A growing and widespread consensus that evangelism is our first calling and that justice is God’s great intention for humankind
· A passion to revitalize our congregations
· A priority for reaching out to the rich multicultural reality of God’s people that are among us
· A focus on building a new generation of leaders for the life and mission of the PCUSA
· A valuing of our polity with its emphasis on discerning the will of God through the collective and shared leadership of ministers and elders
· A hunger for the peace, unity and purity of our church.
I share these passions and, if re-elected by the 216th General Assembly, look forward, with a great deal of enthusiasm, to joining those in our congregations, presbyteries and synods in being faithful to God’s call to build up our church as a faithful expression of the body of Christ.
Grace and peace,
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly