The Presbytery of Genesee Valley has endorsed John Wilkinson as a candidate for moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Wilkinson, pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y., since 2001, was endorsed during the Nov. 26 presbytery meeting of Genesee Valley, comprised of 69 congregations in western New York state. A press release from Third Presbyterian Church announced the presbytery’s endorsement.
The church is listed as a More Light congregation on its website, which reads, “Third Presbyterian Church is an open and accepting faith community in the Presbyterian tradition. Building on a strong heritage, we seek to provide progressive leadership on religious, social, and moral issues.” As its senior pastor for the past decade, Wilkinson is aligned with that vision.
Wilkinson was an original board member of the Covenant Network and continues to serve in leadership for that organization today. He spoke at the organization’s conference in 2002 on the subject of Reconciliation, trained people how to use the Authoritative Interpretation of the Fidelity and Chastity clause at the 2007 conference, and preached again at the national conference in 2008. You can listen to Wilkinson’s sermons from Third Presbyterian Church Rochester online.
Wilkinson, currently the moderator for the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, holds degrees from the College of Wooster, McCormick Theological Seminary and Northwestern University. Prior to his call to serve at Third Presbyterian in Rochester, Wilkinson served at St. James Presbyterian Church and Fourth Presbyterian Church, both in Chicago. Wilkinson and his spouse Bonny Claxton have two children.
He commented on the endorsement, saying, “I am humbled, excited and a little daunted to be endorsed by my presbytery colleagues and friends to serve the church in this way at such an important time. The theme for the Detroit General Assembly is ‘Abound in Hope.’ I have embraced a theme for my own efforts based on that: ‘With an urgency born of this hope … ‘is not only an affirmation from the Presbyterian Confession of 1967, but it is a theological promise as well. The Presbyterian family is facing change and conflict. Yet we are called to be urgent – not anxious or fearful – as we face our future. The hope we embrace is not our own, but is a gracious gift from God. As we affirm this gift and rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit, we will live into a Presbyterian future filled with possibility and transformation. I hope that my vision, gifts and experiences might serve the church in this important moment, and I am grateful indeed for my presbytery’s affirmation.”
Heath Rada, a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Asheville, N.C., is the other candidate for the moderator’s position at this time. Rada was endorsed by the Presbytery of Western North Carolina in April.
The elected moderator for the General Assembly, scheduled for June 14-21, 2014, in Detroit, Mich., will facilitate the business meetings of the assembly and then will become the voice and face of the denomination for the next two years, traveling, speaking and representing the PCUSA, succeeding Neal Presa, who was elected as moderator for the 220th GA in 2012.