Meet Our Moderator
At its February 24th Gathering, Ruling Elder Bob Parker was installed as the 2022 Moderator of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. Bob, a long time Presbyterian-type Jesus follower, sat down with us to share about himself, his church experiences, and his hopes for the church and the world.
The Presbytery of Los Ranchos: Bob, tell us a bit bout your family.
RE Bob Parker, Moderator: Well, my family is fairly large. My wife Jane I have been married for 52 years. We have three grown, married daughters, seven grandchildren ranging from 24 years to 2 weeks old, and two very spoiled English Cocker Spaniels.
PLR: Where do you and your family worship?
Bob: I am a member of St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. Jane and I first joined in 1977, but moved to Seattle in 1978. We returned to Newport in 1982 and have been members there ever since. I have served as a Deacon, an Elder, and as the Clerk of Session for fifteen years.
PLR: We understand that you have been active in the presbytery for quite some time. Where and how have you served?
Bob: I served twice on the old Polity and Records Committee, including a few years as the moderator. I also served on the Polity and Records Committee of the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii. While I have also been a member of the presbytery’s Permanent Judicial Commission, we were not called to convene during my tenure. I must say that was somewhat of a relief.
PLR: Are there other ministries in which you are or have been involved?
Bob: Jane and I love to spend time at our home in the desert. When there, we worship at Spirit of the Desert Fellowship, where I am convener of the steering committee. We have also been involved for many years with Companions on the Inner Way, a non-profit organization that offers twice yearly contemplative retreats. I currently serve on the Companions advisory board.
PLR: We see from the “friends” sitting here with you that you have varied interests. What activities do you enjoy in your free time?
Bob: I am a gardener, I was born on a farm; growing things is in my DNA. I also enjoy travel and photography.
PLR: We’ve heard that you have a rather large collection. What is it that you collect?
Bob: (with a grin) I do have an addiction to old cars. My collection consists of three Corvettes, two BMWs, and two Porsches; the oldest is a 1963 model, which I have owned for forty-seven years! I also have an El Camino and a 1967 VW Bug.
PLR: That a lot of cars! Where do you store them?
Bob: I keep them in a garage in Costa Mesa and visit and drive at least one of them weekly. During the pandemic shutdown my good friend, Herb Fischer, and I would take 4-6 hour road trips almost every week to get out of the house and to give our old cars some exercise. He and I, with our wives, have also driven to Monterey Car Week several times.
PLR: Turning to a more serious subject, what led you to say yes to becoming PLR’s Moderator?
Bob: After prayerful consideration, I felt a call. In my business life I led many meetings large and small. I think I have the requisite experience and with God’s and PLR staff’s help, I can help us do our business in an efficient and faithful way.
PLR: What are you looking forward to during your moderatorial year?
Bob: In-person meetings! Creative worship. A renewed emphasis on Learning Conversations – particularly those focused on social, racial, environmental and economic justice. I also hope to become better acquainted with the variety of congregations within our bounds and also become more familiar with issues facing the wider church. Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to encourage and hope to realize greater participation in the life and leadership of the presbytery by our smaller and racial ethnic congregations.
PLR: What issues or concerns would you like to address in the coming year?
Bob: I hope more church members will come to presbytery meetings to see all the work that is done for and on behalf of our congregations and to witness what is happening in the wider church. I am concerned about the power imbalance in the leadership and practices of the presbytery – the disparity in participation between large and small congregations, also racial and gender equity. I hope that we will work together. We are a connectional church; it is in our nature to work together, to encourage partnerships, and to support one another. I hope that we can strengthen those bonds.
PLR: Finally, what do you hope for the presbytery and the church now and in the future?
Bob: We are in an era of profound change in the church and the culture. We need to be innovative and flexible to meet the needs of God’s people. I hope that people of faith can do more to influence that change and lead it in the direction that our faith points us.
PLR: Thank you, Bob, for sharing your time and your thoughts with us. We promise to pray for you as you lead us into God’s future.