Current and former GA Moderators join #GivingTuesday telethon to benefit PC(USA) mission
Church leaders to reunite on Dec. 1 for spirited, livestreamed ‘PresbySquares’ game show
By Emily Enders Odom
LOUISVILLE – When the decision was made earlier this year to hold a virtual assembly, not only did Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and the Rev. Gregory Bentley, Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly (2020), have to forego a trip to Baltimore, but they also missed out on the time-honored tradition of gathering with their predecessors who have also held the denomination’s highest elected office.
Thanks to #GivingTuesday, their wait is over.
On #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1., the current GA co-moderators will at last have a chance to join with eight former GA moderators and co-moderators when together they will play a game called “PresbySquares” as part of the PC(USA)’s 12-hour live stream to encourage Presbyterian generosity.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving designed to harness the potential of social media and the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. The PC(USA) has run a campaign for #GivingTuesday since 2014.
“As 2020 has left many scars in our lives, it is important that we, as a connectional church, recognize that together we can do great things for the glory of our Savior,” said Kathy Maurer, a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church of Taymouth, Birch Run, Mich., and a member of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. Maurer also serves as honorary co-chair of the of the multi-agency, cross-departmental planning team for #GivingTuesday.
Inspired by telethons of the past and the recent Presbyterian Week of Action, this year the PC(USA) will be holding a virtual event with the theme, “We are the Church, together,” the schedule for which will include worship and reflection, prayer, mental health breaks, ministry area highlights, and the PresbySquares game show.
The two contestants, Street-Stewart and Bentley, will be quizzed on their knowledge of Presbyterian trivia by game show host, Destini Hodges — interim coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer program for the Presbyterian Mission Agency — as they each vie to become champion.
Occupying the game squares on the celebrity tic-tac-toe board will be former GA moderators and co-moderators Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri (2018), Rev. Cindy Kohlmann (2018), Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston (2016), Rev. Denise Anderson (2016), Heath Rada (2014), Rev. Dr. Neal Presa (2012), Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews (2003) and Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel (2002) In the coveted center square will be Rev. Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes, PC(USA) pastor, associate professor of worship at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and author of the new book, “Liturgies from Below: Praying with People at the Ends of the World.”
“This sounds like lots of fun for a very worthy cause,” said Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018).
Serving along with Maurer as honorary co-chair of the #GivingTuesday planning team is Rev. Dr. Blythe Denham Kieffer, pastor and head of staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Ill. Kieffer is a member of the Committee of the Office of the General Assembly.
“One of the things I have learned over the years about others and myself is that people want to be a part of something larger than their individual lives,” said Kieffer. “They want to give to something they believe in, something that changes lives, and something they have confidence will be done well and with integrity. Giving Tuesday is a tangible way to be a part of something larger than our individual lives and our individual congregations as we raise funds for the ongoing work of the PC(USA).”
More information — including a complete telethon schedule — for #GivingTuesday is available at giving-tuesday.pcusa.org. Downloadable graphics and suggested texts in support of #GivingTuesday are available by clicking here.