|SFTS alum Rev. Neal Presa is first candidate for General Assembly moderator
Rev. Neal D. Presa, pastor of Middlesex (N.J.) Presbyterian Church, has been endorsed by the Presbytery of Elizabeth in New Jersey as the first candidate for moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The assembly will be held June 30-July 7, 2012 in Pittsburgh.
If his bid is successful, Presa, who earned his Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2002, would become the 16th person associated with SFTS to assume the highest leadership role in the denomination. The most recent was Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, who became the 218th General Assembly Moderator in 2008. Other PC(USA) moderators have included SFTS faculty, staff and trustees.
“We are proud to present Dr. Presa as a candidate for moderator of the General Assembly,” said the Rev. Greg Albert, interim executive presbyter. “He is the first person to be nominated by Elizabeth Presbytery for this office in its nearly 200-year history. He is an exceptional pastor, leader, and theologian. I can’t imagine anyone better qualified.”
The Filipino-American also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary (ThM) and Drew University (MPhil and PhD). At Drew Presa was a Henry Luce Foundation Graduate Fellow for the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts. He studied at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, Calif., and is an adjunct faculty member at Somerset Christian College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
Presa has served the PC(USA) at all levels and has also been heavily engaged in global ecumenical relations. He is moderator of Elizabeth Presbytery and serves as chair of the General Assembly Special Committee on the Heidelberg Catechism.
Presa served two terms on the General Assembly Council, including one term (2003-2004) as vice-chair. He has also served on the Committee on Theological Education and on the board of trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Ecumenically, Presa recently concluded his second term as convener of the Caribbean and North American Area Council (CANAAC) of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on whose Executive Committee he also served. He represented the World Alliance of Reformed Churches at the Faith and Order Plenary Commission of the World Council of Churches and at the Vatican Symposium on “Harvesting the Fruits.”
“I am humbled by this affirmation of the presbytery to put my name forward as a candidate for moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” Presa said. “I offer myself as a pastor, ecumenist, and liturgical theologian committed to praying and working towards what Jesus Christ prayed, ‘that they may all be one.’ I seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace at all levels of the church, and how our unity as a body impacts ministries in our local congregations, and the gospel witness. We must reclaim our unity in the God who gathers us in worship and sends us out into our communities and, indeed the whole world to invest and share our lives in others.”
Presa and his wife live with their two sons in Middlesex, N.J.