Get to know the 9 folks from the PTCA who will be commissioners to the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) taking place this summer in Pittsburgh, PA.
At the January 2012 Stated Meeting, the Presbytery approved a slate of 4 teaching elders, 4 ruling elders and one Young Adult Advisory Delegate to attend the 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh June 30-July 7. Get to know the people representing the PTCA this summer:
William Davnie, Parish Associate, Valley Community, Golden Valley : Bill brings a quite varied background, having served as a parish pastor in a rural community and then 27 years as an American Foreign Service Officer, living abroad, also working and serving in a variety of church settings, serving on local congregational councils, seeing the Church in varied cultural and denominational contexts, from both the pulpit and the pew. He brings pastoral knowledge and expertise on issues of Christianity and international and ecumenical relations. His secular work involved understanding how organizations work and how they might work better, finding his Presbyterian roots helpful, understanding that it is not only what we do, but how we do it as important. He is currently chair of the PTCA Committee on Preparation for Ministry, a Presbytery Council member, and the presbytery representative on the Minnesota Council of Churches Committee on Unity and Relations. As a Parish Associate he leads workshops, teaches adult classes, and supply preaches as requested. He has taught at Synod School and at various other churches and community groups, service he expects to continue by interpreting the GA to Presbytery and in congregational settings.
Donald Genereux, Pastor, First Presbyterian, Belle Plaine : Don has interests and skills and a track record in various settings of being involved in the organizations of which he is a part; he firmly believes in servant leadership. In the church setting, he believes it is important to have representation from congregations of all sizes and locations. Ministry is a second/third career for him. He was a Social Worker for 17 years, then Elementary School Principal 12 years before entering seminary. In his former careers he served as a union representative as a social worker and as secretary to the Minneapolis Forum of Principals; then elected to the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, state wide. Has also been elected a Council Member for Ward Two of the Robbinsdale City Council, involved at state & national levels in the Minnesota and National Leagues of Cities. In the PTCA he serves on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry as secretary, and has read national Ordination Exams for 3 years. He has been involved in the Wee Kirk conferences yearly, attended the Fellowship Gathering last August as an observer, and served on the Hospitality Committee at the Convention Center for the 219th GA here in Minnesota. He believes that being involved as a commissioner to GA would give him a broader perspective in ministering to his congregation, his service on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, and his ability to moderate sessions in vacant churches as he now does at Church of the Master in Coon Rapids.
Joann Lee, Associate Pastor, The House of Hope Presbyterian, St. Paul: Joann, as the daughter of Korean immigrants, recognized the church as the place where her parents had always been treated with full humanity and dignity; this fostered within her a deep love for the church which has grown and matured through the years. As an observer at the 218th and 219th General Assemblies, she believes that we, the church, are at our best when we discern together the will of God, believing that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in the midst of our gatherings. As a youth she served on the national level through youth councils and conference design teams, learning about our connectional system and also how broad and diverse our church actually is; she has learned to navigate and even celebrate diversity, and also when it is important to listen and when to speak up, believing her experiences and her journey lend her a unique perspective and voice to speak on behalf of the marginalized. She is the Associate Pastor for Family & Young Adult Ministries at the House of Hope Church, a member of Advocates for Integrity in Ministry Committee of the PTCA, a member of the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the GA, a Board member of the Korean American Presbyterian Clergy Women, and a member of the Nominating Committee of McCormick Theological Seminary’s Alumni Council.
Stan Martin, Pastor, Peace Presbyterian Church, St. Louis Park: A graduate of Eden Seminary in St. Louis, Martin has served as pastor of Peace Presbyterian in St. Louis Park since 2005. Before that, he served Presbyterian Churches in Illinois and Kansas. Martin describes some of his past experience as such: ”
I have engaged in a number of transforming experiences in life and in ordained ministry. From dialoguing through theological diversity and faith-relationships in Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery to recent engagement in the work of changing culture as part of the Church Development Team in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area through ongoing transformational-shepherding in the congregations I have served and serve. ”
Gerald Ganfield, Associated Church, Owatonna: Jerry found the format and business of the 219th GA in MN inspiring during some riveting floor discussions and debate, feeling it was important to really listen to individual’s rationale and consider how each proposed to represent the will of Christ, and so was motivated to apply as a commissioner this year. He has served on the Council of his home church as moderator, historian, and on the Adult Ministry Team; has sung in the choir, played in the bell choir, delivered home communion, been co-chair of a fund-raising team to remodel the sanctuary and expand the youth area, and served as part of the facilities planning team. He has been a commissioner to presbytery for 6 years and serves on the PTCA Committee on Ministry. On COM he has served on a visitation sub-committee, visiting more than 20 sessions, finding a desire for greater connections and a more nurturing presbytery. He served on the envisioning committee which led to our presbytery’s Strategic Plan. As a former high school teacher, he volunteers as a teacher’s assistant in the local school system. He hopes his experience at GA can be shared with others to encourage more connections with the wider church.
Paul Harkess, Community Presbyterian, Rochester: Recently retired from a position as development officer at the Mayo Clinic, Paul is anxious to once again serve in the larger church, having felt the hand of God guiding his service to Him throughout his life. Observing the 219th GA increased this desire. He has been a Presbyterian some 46 years, since meeting his then wife-to-be in a Presbyterian Church in Chile. He attended one semester at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has been both Deacon and Elder in his home churches, also a commissioner to Synod of the Northeast when living in Princeton. He has been a commissioner to presbytery here in the PTCA, and served a term on our Finance Work Group (pre Board of Trustees). In his home church he as led worship and guided stewardship campaigns. He served on the Evangelism Committee while Community PC was a New Church Development and is currently prayer liaison to the Chain of Lakes NCD. His profession as development officer has been characterized by interest in others, compassion and good listening skills. He has followed the discussions of many issues in the PCUSA over the years and is good at synthesizing information to present results and decisions to others which he would do after returning to the Twin Cities Area.
Barbara Lutter, Arlington Hills Presbyterian, St. Paul: Barbara has felt called anew to be a part of the church in the past year, called to step forward and serve. As an Overture Advocate for our presbytery at the 219th GA, she found participation in the committee process exhilarating, and amazed at what she felt to be the Spirit of Christ in the Convention Hall, and in her own heart. She was ordained an elder at North Como Presbyterian in Roseville and served several terms on session there as well as being presbytery commissioner.
Arlington Hills Presbyterian. Between them she has served on Personnel, Building & Grounds, Nominating, Christian Ed, a Capital Campaign, and the Eastside Children’s Summer Program committees. She has taught church school and Wednesday Kids Club. In the PTCA she has served 6 years on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and is currently our Vice Moderator. A practicing attorney, she has served on an Investigating Committee and a Committee of Counsel. Trained as a mediator, her nature is to listen and consider all sides and points of view, keeping lines of communication open and looking for ways for all voices to be heard; it is important for her to be aware of the implications of proposed changes, as well as motivations and interests of those proposing change, and that her heart and mind be open.
Katherine Martin, Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis: Kitty has attended many GAs with her husband, Teaching Elder Ed Martin, and volunteered in 2010 on the Hospitality Committee, welcoming folks at the Minneapolis Airport and helping them at departure. She looks forward to the chance to serve on a committee that would be considering issues that affect the life of the PCUSA. As an elder at Westminster, and in her previous congregation in Pennsylvania, she has served as a Presbytery Commissioner. Her local church service has included membership on the Social Justice Ministry Team (chair 4 years), and the Faith & Action Council, and choir member. She was on the planning committee for the 2002 Covenant Network Conference which met at Westminster. In Redstone Presbytery, PA, she was chair of the Church & Society Committee which developed a ground-breaking Emergency Mortgage Assistance program to allocate 20% of Presbytery unrestricted Funds to be allocated for mortgage relief, without consideration of the recipient’s religious affiliation. She is a writer, keeping attention to details, and edited a community newspaper when in Indiana (circulation 2000). When in Pennsylvania she was encouraged to organize a steering committee of parents and taxpayers to continue negotiations to resolve a 6 week strike; after the strike ended both sides thanked them for their efforts and praised their neutrality.
Young Adult Advisory Delegate
Rachel Hagen, Plymouth Presbyterian, Plymouth: Rachel enjoys connecting with people and listening to their ideas even if they differ from hers, feels she comprehends difficult ideas and is able to make compromises, suggesting that the ability to work closely with other Presbyterians from across the country would allow her to learn more about others’ personal beliefs and ideas and help her grow in her own faith. With the Plymouth Youth Group she has volunteered at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, Feed My Starving Children, People Responding in Social Ministry, Maple Grove Hospital, and the 363 Days organization; also in Youth Extending Services through her high school she has helped coordinate an elementary school winter carnival, and worked helping socialize therapy dogs. She works part time in a pet food store. She has taught at Plymouth’s VBC four years, has been on two youth mission trips with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance–to Iowa City and to Nashville, both doing flood repair work; these mission trips have had a large impact on the evolution of her faith. She runs cross country and track, likes to play the guitar, piano, read, and talk with friends. She feels that through a GA YAAD experience she would be better equipped for her service as a Deacon; she will be ordained in January 2012.
-Teaching Elder Elizabeth Raitt compiled the information for this article.