From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
New Mexico Pastor Joins Moderator Race
04 May 1996 20:36:46
95356 New Mexico Pastor Joins Moderator Race
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The Rev. John Clark Poling, pastor of First Presbyterian
Church in Las Cruces, N.M., has become the second announced candidate for
moderator of the 208th General Assembly (1996). Poling was endorsed Sept.
30 by Sierra Blanca Presbytery.
He joins the Rev. Norm Pott, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of
San Rafael, Calif. (Redwoods Presbytery), in the race for moderator. The
Assembly is scheduled for next June 29-July 5 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Poling is from the area where he now serves, having been born in El
Paso, Texas. He grew up there and in Philadelphia and Salem, Ore. A
graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, Poling spent two years in
the Peace Corps in Ecuador prior to attending Princeton Theological
He served pastorates in Duncanville and Arlington, Texas, and
Downington, Pa., before coming to Las Cruces. The 550-member Las Cruces
church is 112 years old, having been started as an Hispanic mission church
by Santa Fe Presbytery.
Poling has served on both the Synod of the Southwest and Sierra Blanca
Presbytery budget committees. He is currently on the presbytery's
Committee on Ministry and Mission 2000 Task Force.
He describes himself as a moderate. "After conversations with folks
in the middle, I have found that we're always in the cross fire," he told
the Presbyterian News Service. "If you look at the Presbyterian Church
theologically, it's a pretty normal bell curve -- I want to keep the bell
ringing without being too distracted by all the racket from the fringes."
Poling said "mission is what's important to my congregation. The
Presbyterian Church needs to keep lifting that up, to get churches on the
sidelines back into the heart of denominational life." He said what he
brings to the office of moderator is the ability to "be a fair moderator
during the Assembly and then an advocate for Presbyterian mission during
the following year."
Poling insisted reconciliation is possible in the contentious
Presbyterian Church. "Look, I come from a family that represents all the
extremes of thought and theology and points in between in the Presbyterian
Church," he explained, "and we still love each other, so it can be done."
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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