General Assembly 2004
Candidates for Moderator
Candidates for Moderator respond to Witherspoon
One of the first acts of the 216th
General Assembly will be the election of a new Moderator. To help our
readers weigh this important choice, the Witherspoon Society has asked
each of the three candidates to respond briefly to five questions that
reflect Witherspoon concerns — and, we believe, concerns of the wider
With thanks to the candidates for their cooperation in responding, we
are happy to share their comments here -- listed in alphabetical order.
to run for moderator [2-13-04]
Advocate for migrants to run for moderator
rejects 'me-first' ethic of
by Alexa Smith,
LOUISVILLE -- February 12, 2004 -- A 39-year-old mission
volunteer and advocate for migrant workers and others who suffer in an
unfair global economy is the third candidate for moderator of the 216th
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, a co-founder and co-director of
BorderLinks, a cross-border (U.S.-Mexico)
organization supported by the PC(USA)'s Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD),
was endorsed unanimously by the Presbytery of de Cristo on Jan. 23 during
a meeting in Tucson, AZ.
The other candidates are the Rev.
David McKechnie of Houston, TX, and the Rev. K.C.
Ptomey of Nashville, TN.
"I want to get the message out that there is a world out
there that most of us are unaware of," Ufford-Chase told the
Presbyterian News Service in a telephone interview. "And the church
has a special responsibility to figure out how to create a global
community that matches the global economy."
Ufford-Chase said there must be an alternative to
displacement and despair for impoverished workers and families. He said he
believes part of the solution lies in creating links between poor
communities and those of wealth and privilege. And he believes
Presbyterians are called to support marginalized church partners around
"I believe that we are called to live as Jesus lived, to
risk as Jesus risked, and to care as deeply as Jesus cared," Ufford-Chase
proclaims at his Web site,
where he details his platform and goals, describes his faith journey and
reflects on the challenges the church faces.
Ufford-Chase has been
active in support of besieged communities in Nicaragua, Guatemala and
Mexico, and of Palestinian Christians living in Bethlehem and Hebron on
the West Bank. He is a co-moderator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship,
and also is active in Christian Peacemaker Teams, a pacifist group that
sends Christians to live in communities plagued by violence.
Ufford-Chase, who is
fluent in Spanish, is a member and elder at Tucson's Southside
Presbyterian Church, whose pastor is former PC(USA) Moderator John Fife,
and serves as a member of the Presbytery of de Cristo's committee for
long-range planning and funds development.
He has been active
since 1986 in a number of refugee-support groups in Tucson, including
Humane Borders, a faith-based organization that maintains water stations
in the desert for migrants; The Samaritans, a desert search-and-rescue
group; and the Maquila Organizing Project, which trains labor leaders to
work with Mexican factory workers.
Ufford-Chase is a
Presbyterian "preacher's kid" who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology
from the Colorado College in Colorado Springs and spent a semester at
Princeton Seminary before leaving in 1986 to become a mission volunteer.
Ufford-Chase said he
realized that he was called to run for moderator while he was leading a
group of seminarians in the desert and hearing migrants' stories: of a
couple who'd left a 3-year-old daughter behind to seek work in Kansas; a
16-year-old boy who hoped to find a job in North Carolina; a man trying
desperately to get to New York to find out what happened to a brother and
son who worked in the World Trade Center and haven't been heard from since
Sept. 11, 2001.
He said he wants to
tell their stories, and countless others like them, to the church.
for building a more humane global economy isn't easy, he said, "but it is
no more scary than it was for people in Jesus' time … to hear his message.
To take down barriers. And to step out and be with one another. "
He told PNS: "I see
this as an opportunity for our church to be re-invigorated" and to
energize people willing to "stand against the 'me-first' message of the
Ufford-Chase and his
wife of 12 years, Kitty Ufford, live in Tucson and have one son, Teo.
Ufford-Chase named as candidate for Moderator
Ufford-Chase was endorsed unanimously by the Presbytery de Cristo at its
meeting on January 23, 2004, as a candidate for Moderator of the 216th
He is the co-founder and co-director of BorderLinks, a
binational organization that provides experiential education on issues
such as trade and globalization and the concerns of migrants on the
border. Rick is sponsored in that work as a Mission Co-Worker in the
Worldwide Ministries division of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is also
a co-moderator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.
address to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship at the 215th
GA is posted here on the Witherspoon website. It was entitled "Empire and
and Priorities for the Presbyterian Church in a time of Globalization."
His candidacy is represented on the web
|Nashville pastor is candidate
Middle Tennessee Presbytery endorses K.C.
by Alexa Smith, Presbyterian
October 20, 2003 -- The Rev. K.C. Ptomey Jr., pastor of
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, has been endorsed by the
Presbytery of Middle Tennessee as a candidate for moderator of the 216th
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The presbytery voted Oct. 16 to endorse Ptomey's
candidacy. Rita Hood, Westminster's clerk of session, said, "This call has
come at a time when K.C. can be a reconciler and peacemaker for our great
Presbyterian Church. I urge you to confirm this resolution and pledge your
prayers and support for K.C. and for the session and congregation of
Westminster as we look toward this wonderful opportunity to share K.C. with
the whole of the Presbyterian Church (USA)."
Ptomey, 61, has served the Westminster church for 22
years. He has also served congregations in Texas and in Tennessee, ranging
in size from 60 to more than 2,000 members.
"I am the pastor of a church with wide diversity in its
theological and political opinions," he told the Presbyterian News Service,
after the presbytery vote. "But we are a church that has always valued each
other in our differences and keeping the church together. We are called to
be the Body of Christ. So one can't say, 'We don't need your opinion,' or,
'We don't need your point of view.' "
"This congregation has taught me that … and maybe that is
a gift of this congregation that the PCUSA needs right now," said Ptomey.
Born in Birmingham, AL, Ptomey earned his bachelor's
degree in philosophy from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. He holds the B.D.
from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the D.Min. from
McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Ptomey has served the wider church as well, preaching at
worship and music conferences at Mo Ranch and at Montreat. He also been the
keynote speaker for Montreat youth conferences.
He served a six-year-term as a member of the General
Assembly Council as a member of the Congregational Ministries Division
Committee and the Committee on Theological Education. Ptomey has served as a
commissioner to the 1973 General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (US), and the
1999 General Assembly of the PCUSA.
Ptomey has served on numerous presbytery committees,
including serving as moderator.
"I find goodness in this denomination … joy in its people,
zeal for mission, deep commitment to Jesus Christ and a passion for keeping
the things of the mind and the heart together," he said, adding that friends
persuaded him to consider serving as moderator.
"I don't think this is the kind of thing you aspire to; it
is the kind of thing that (one) must be convinced one is called to," he
said, speaking of his time of discernment.
Ptomey is married to the Rev. Carol Tate, a new church
development pastor. He has two grown children and two stepchildren.
Ptomey gave the nominating speech at the 1999 General
Assembly for former General Assembly Moderator Freda Gardner.
The moderator who is elected next June at the General
Assembly in Richmond, VA, will be the first to serve a two-year term since
the denomination will shift to meeting every other year.
|Houston pastor is 1st
candidate for moderator
Grace PC's McKechnie
endorsed by New Covenant Presbytery
By John Filiatreau, Presbyterian News Service
August 25, 2003 -- The Rev. David Garth McKechnie, pastor of Grace
Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX, has become the first candidate for
moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The Presbytery of New Covenant voted unanimously to
endorse his candidacy on Aug. 23. His presenter, the Rev. Gerald Hurst,
pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Missouri City, TX, called
McKechnie "one who will work with both sides of the aisle toward the peace,
unity and purity of the church ... (and) the healing and reconciliation of
Because of the shift to having Assemblies only every other
year, the moderator elected next June at the GA in Richmond, VA, will be the
first to serve a two-year term.
McKechnie, 63, an avid skier, had surgery Monday on a
shoulder he dislocated in an accident on the slopes last year.
He is a native of Ottawa, Canada, who was naturalized as a
U.S. citizen in 1972. He has a bachelor's degree from Nyack College in New
York and has studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He earned
his Master of Divinity degree from an ecumenical program at New York
Theological Seminary, Union Seminary and General Theological Seminary, all
in New York City.
After ordination in the United Presbyterian Church in the
United States of America (the old northern church), he joined the staff of
First Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY, and while there obtained a degree
in psychology and counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also
has an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Montreat-Anderson College in
After serving on the staff of First Presbyterian Church in
Tulsa, OK, McKechnie became pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in
Beaumont, TX, in 1975. He became the pastor of 4,300-member Grace Church in
Houston, a Confessing Church Movement congregation, in 1981.
For many years, Grace was among the fastest-growing
churches in the PC(USA). Membership declined by about 200 in 2002, when
average attendance at worship was about 1,500 and more than 2,950 people
were enrolled in Christian education programs.
McKechnie has served on the boards of trustees of The
Texas Presbyterian Foundation, the Medical Benevolence Foundation, Austin
College, Schreiner College and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
He was the Presbyterian representative on the radio
program The Protestant Hour (now called Day 1) in 1992, and has
written two inspirational books: Experiencing God's Pleasure and
Let's Start Over.
McKechnie and his wife, the former Linda Marsh, a musician
and recording artist, have two children: Sheri, a graduate of Houston
Baptist University who lives in Charlotte, NC; and the Rev. Peter McKechnie,
a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and a Presbyterian minister.
Check out the
Presbyterian News Service
report for a photo of Mr. McKechnie.
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
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Voices of Sophia blog
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