The application process for anyone interested in becoming the next Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will open Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee (SCNC) is working on selecting the person it will nominate for the highest ecclesiastical officer of the PCUSA to the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon, June 18–25, 2016.
The current stated clerk, Gradye Parsons who was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, has announced that he will “not stand for a third term as stated clerk.”
Therefore, the SCNC has begun its work to find someone to nominate for the position.
The committee recently conducted an online survey to discover what qualities Presbyterians are looking for in the person who holds the highest constitutional office in the denomination. The results of the survey, which had 750 results, were recently released by the committee.
“We were very pleased with the response to the survey,” the Rev. Carol McDonald, moderator of the SCNC, said in a press release. “The summary data validated much of what the SCNC believed to be true. Please be in prayer for us as we seek God’s will for this key position.”
The survey asked respondents to “rate the qualities and characteristics needed in the next Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.” The qualities and characteristics could be rated as “not important,” “somewhat important,” “important” or “mandatory.”
Looking at the “weighted average” of all the responses to the survey, the Top 7 qualities wanted in the PCUSA stated clerk are:
- Committed follower of Christ: 3.87 weighted average
- Trustworthy: 3.83 weighted average
- Communicator: 3.67 weighted average
- Called: 3.61 weighted average
- Good listener: 3.56 weighted average
- Interpreter of the Book of Order: 3.54 weighted average
- Parliamentarian for General Assembly: 3.41 weighted average
As for what Presbyterians don’t want in a stated clerk, the list includes:
- Gatekeeper: 2.22 weighted average
- Charisma: 2.48 weighted average
- Head of Communion: 2.54 weighted average
- Technologically savvy: 2.63 weighted average
- Executive: 2.69 weighted average
- Politically savvy: 2.85 weighted average
- Commitment to Interreligious work: 2.91 weighted average
Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of The Layman, commented, “It’s clear what the respondents to the survey want and it’s clear what they don’t want. They don’t want a stated clerk who is committed to interreligious work, is politically nor technologically savvy, sees himself or herself as the charismatic executive or the head of the communion. But what they really don’t want in a stated clerk is a gatekeeper. Of all the characteristics, that ranks the lowest.”
The survey found that 89.17 percent of respondents (659 total) believed it is mandatory for the next stated clerk to be a “committed follower of Christ,” and 83.49 percent (or 617) thought it was mandatory for him/her to be “trustworthy.” Other qualities and characteristics which were ranked “mandatory” by more than 50 percent of respondents included:
- Communicator: 69.85 percent or 513 people
- Called: 67.99 percent or 497 people
- Interpreter of the Book of Order: 65.62 percent or 481 people
- Good listener: 61.34 percent or 449 people
- Parliamentarian for General Assembly: 58.80 percent or 431 people
The qualities and characteristics ranked the highest under the “important” category included only five in the 50-60 percent range:
- Delegator: 56.53 percent or 411 people
- Personable: 52.87 percent or 387 people
- Self-reflective: 51.44 percent or 375 people
- Organizer: 51.51 percent or 375 people
- Decision-maker: 50.55 percent or 370 people
Any questions about the process can be sent to Kathy Lueckert, staff to the SCNC, at Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org.
View all of the survey results here.