Meet Our Commissioners to the 225th General Assembly
The 225th General Assembly meets in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 18 – July 9. The presbytery’s commissioners are Rev. Dr. Robin C. Clardy, Ruling Elder Emily Fuentes, and Rev. Maggie Goodwin.
The presbytery submitted questions to Robin, Emily, and Maggie about their families, interests, and hopes for the church.
Tell us a bit about you, where you’re from, where you grew up, where you went to school.
Robin: I am the third of four children. I grew up in Walnut Creek, CA. I graduated with degrees in research psychology from Whitworth College in Spokane, an MA in Theology and Marriage and Family from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a M.Div. and D.Min. from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Emily: -I grew up in Hawaii, spent my teenage years in California, and lived in Missouri during grad school. As a result, people are usually thrown off by my accent and often assume I’m Canadian.
Maggie: I was born and raised in Walla Walla, WA at First Presbyterian Church of Walla Walla (which has since left for ECO). A week after I graduated from high school my parents moved to the Tampa, FL area. I stayed in Washington for a couple years and began my undergraduate degree at Eastern Washington University where I was involved in United Ministries, a campus ministry led by a PC(USA) and ELCA pastor representing a sponsoring group of mainline protestant churches. I served as a Peer Campus Minister with United Ministries until I decided to take a gap year and join the PCUSA’s Young Adult Volunteer Program. I was placed in Miami, FL (only coincidentally in the same state as my parents) and worked in the after school program at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, an African American congregation, as well as assisting with some administrative duties for Miami Music Ministry and the Lighthouse worship community that sprang from it. As I was technically still a dependent of my parents, who were permanent residents in Florida, I completed my undergraduate degree in History at Florida International University in Miami before returning to the Pacific Northwest. In Seattle I worked as a youth counselor for YouthCare in a program that served homeless, incarcerated, and otherwise at-risk youth. I also spent a couple years in the facilities department at a retirement community. Since I started college I felt a call to ministry, and knew I’d be attending seminary, the only question was where and when. I finally began my M.Div at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in 2012; I took the “long road” in completing my degree graduating in 2017. Following graduation I worked as the Director of Children, Youth, and Families for Wallingford United Methodist Church in Seattle for about 18 months while I “got my ducks in a row” finished the candidacy process with CPM, was certified and began my call search promising WUMC that these sorts of things take forever. However, less than three months after I posted my PIF I received an official call from Whittier Presbyterian Church. I was ordained March 15, 2020, the very same Sunday we needed to call off in-person worship due to COVID. Since then, it’s been a wild ride, but I imagine one that most are fairly familiar with.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
Robin: I am a plant-lover from my childhood and spend a lot of time in my garden. A friend once called my garden “whimsical. That fits! I love doing crafts of all sorts. I enjoy cooking, but nothing fancy. I learned to cook from my father; he was talented at creating meals from leftovers or by combining whatever was in the kitchen. I look to recipes for suggestions, but usually experiment with ingredients and spices. I enjoy learning about other cultures, am interested in women saints, especially Joan of Arc. I am intrigued by the study of interpersonal neurobiology and attachment theory. I love researching the original contexts of scripture.
My husband and I had a chance to go on a Reformation Tour through Germany, Switzerland, and France. We’d especially like to go back to France. One day we hope to travel to Norway to explore our heritage.
Emily: I enjoy going on adventures with my family, planning get-togethers with friends, and traveling.
Maggie: I’ve recently learned to articulate this about myself, I have trouble naming hobbies or what I like to do in my free time because I don’t have many (if any) hobbies that I stick with beyond a season. I’ve enjoyed cross-stitching, make-up art, dessert/candy making (those of you who have had my dipped Oreos know what I mean), vibrant hair dye, calligraphy, painting, making fancy coffee, tea blending, jewelry making, languages, etc. Because my interests and attention shift I don’t often manage to master any of these things, but I do have a lot of fun and learn a lot of random skills. One of my lasting passions and interests is Irish history and culture, particularly peace and reconciliation movements in Northern Ireland. If you ask me my favorite music or bands most of them call Ireland home. I was last in Ireland on New Years Day in 2013, and always want to go back. My husband and I have plans to travel to Peru with my dad (he served in the Peace Corps there in the 70s), and Japan with some old friends. We both love to travel and are feeling antsy as the world is slowly opening back up.
Is there something surprising/something few people know about you?
Robin: I didn’t learn how to read until I was in third grade. Luckily, my family moved to a nearby city with a good school district. I always feel like I am trying to catch up.
Emily: I’ve been to all 50 states and nearly 20 countries.
Maggie: During a period of about 8 months in seminary I worked at the Seattle Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront that is half the size of the London Eye. While working in the photo sales booth there, I met Chris Cornell of Sound Garden, and writer Ann Lamott. I also know how to perform a rescue on the wheel if it loses power with people onboard.
Why you are excited to be a commissioner?
Robin: As a commissioner to the last (224th) GA, I look forward to revisiting the many overtures about equity and justice that were moved to this GA.
Emily: I’m hoping to learn more about current practices to better understand how to make participation more accessible to various groups who have been underrepresented.
Maggie: Since being part of the Young Adult Volunteer Program I have become a general “Presby-nerd” and I’m so excited to connect with those Presbyterians beyond the bounds of our Presbytery.
What are your hopes for GA?
Robin: I hope to learn more about the inner workings of our denomination. I look forward to talking with fellow Presbyterians and finding out how their presbyteries are dealing with the issues of the day. I hope that the PCUSA can further develop actions that address inequity.
Emily: I’m hoping to better understand the process of what brings about progress within our denomination to make things more accessible for more people, to learn a lot and to represent the needs of Los Ranchos.
Maggie: There is an overture supporting black women and girls, that I feel is very important, and I am anxious for how that will turn out.
What committee have you been assigned to and what are your feelings about that assignment?
Robin: I am assigned to the Standing Rules of the General Assembly Committee. The overtures coming to this committee seem non-controversial. It will be interesting to see what my fellow committee members think.
Emily: General Assembly Entity Policies and Procedures.
Maggie: I was assigned to the Financial Resources committee and I definitely feel like I should have been given a math test before being assigned there, but I’m excited to dig into the work we have before us.
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