Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) – the denomination’s top ecclesiastical officer – has announced that he won’t seek election to a third four-year term. That means the 2016 General Assembly will be asked to name a new stated clerk. It also means that the PCUSA is facing a clean sweep of leadership at the top, as Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, left that post as of July 10.
The Stated Clerk Nomination Committee, led by retired synod executive Carol McDonald, is expected to post application materials online in October. All applications must be submitted by Dec. 21, and the committee will announce its nominee no later than April 19.
Parsons, a teaching elder first elected stated clerk in 2008, sat down for a conversation with The Outlook about the challenges facing the PCUSA and his hopes for the denomination in the years to come.
Parsons, 63, said he struggled with the decision not seek another term, as he still enjoys both the work and his colleagues. He and his wife, Kathy, plan to move to Kodak, Tennessee (near Gatlinburg), to help care for their aging mothers and to be closer to the families of their two adult children. Parsons said he might do some consulting, “a little preaching, a little teaching. Nothing that requires a daily alarm clock.”