Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our New Moderator

From Rev. Shawn Coons (associate co-pastor St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston):

Disclaimer: I was a member of Bruce's campaign team.

Most of you probably already know that we have a new moderator. So is the PC(USA) ready for a blogging, earring-wearing, techno-hipster, emerging-type moderator? Well, the Assembly seems to think so. BRC almost got the nod on the first vote (48%). I was in the press section twittering and live blogging (http://www.igeekrev.com/?p=157) the night and by the end of the evening the live blog (internet play by play commentary) had about 10-15 people contributing from in the hall and others at home around the country watching on streaming video. Almost all of those live bloggers were BRC supporters.

I guess no one really knows why the commissioners give one candidate the nod over the others. We interviewed all four candidates on our podcast (www.decently.org/podcast) and they were all very likable and dedicated men of faith and leadership. If I had to speculate I would say that the assembly appreciated several things about Bruce: his honesty, his perspective, and his humor.

Bruce tells it like it is, not to say that the other candidates aren't honest, but Bruce doesn't seem to give safe, easy answers. When asked last night about the ordination of gays and lesbians Bruce stated his position clearly that he believes in full ordination inclusion (actually, Carl Mazza was even more emphatic), at the same time stating that he knows that is not where the majority of the church is and that he would seek to be "excruciatingly fair." Bruce's blog (www.reyes-chow.com) is full of Bruce's thoughts and beliefs, and may make some people uncomfortable given how much Bruce puts himself out there.

Bruce brings a postmodern perspective to the role of moderator. "Context" is a word that you will hear often from Bruce. He strongly believes in being grounded in our tradition but shaping it in vastly different ways for different contexts. In his own church in downtown San Francisco he is part of a group of people who "do church" a little differently while still remaining thoroughly Presbyterian.

Finally, Bruce is a funny guy and will interject a lot of humor into his work. He had a lot of fun last night remarking on the guy who put a small platform on the podium last night each time it was Bruce's turn to speak (Bruce is not a tall man). In his press conference after the election he continued to amuse. When I asked him if he would wear a tie now that he is moderator (he wasn't wearing one during the election), he responded that he did indeed own one and would wear it at least in the GA worship on Sunday. He went on to say that all his people from his church would be there in worship because that was the only time they would see him in a tie and robe.

Bruce will need you prayers for the next two years. He is a full-time minister, Dad (three grade school daughters), and husband, and now moderator. He will also need your prayers because I think he will attract more "attention" than some past moderators and not all of it will be positive. So please pray for Bruce and for the rest of the Assembly.

Editor's Note: Moderator Reyes-Chow's blog has been added as a link to the sidebar--check it out! Photo from Presbyterian News Service.

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