By Harold Reutter, The Grand Island Independent (Nebraska).
First, the ambassador listened.
Dr. Heath Rada, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, visited First Presbyterian Church in Grand Island Thursday evening for a church supper that was enjoyed by members of numerous Presbyterian churches in Central Nebraska, including those in Minden, Kearney, Hastings and St. Paul.
Rada noted that many people do not know what a moderator for the Presbyterian Church actually does.
“I’m not a pope,” said Rada, explaining that he has no authority over either theological issues or policy issues. In that regard, he said, he does not have as much authority as bishops in some Protestant denominations.
His job was to moderate the 221st General Assembly that was held last June in Detroit, an event that brought together commissioners and advisory delegates from all 172 presbyteries.
Rada said that once his moderating was done, his role changed to that of ambassador. During the past nine months, he has traveled to 20 states and 10 countries.
In Grand Island, he first wanted to listen to members and pastors from all the area Presbyterian churches speak about “something that gives you joy, something that makes you excited about being part of the Presbyterian Church.”