From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Several Candidates Will Seek Stated Clerk Job

Date 25 May 1996 07:57:28

23 May 1996 
96191     Several Candidates Will Seek Stated Clerk Job 
                          by Alexa Smith 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--At least two candidates for stated clerk of the General 
Assembly are expected to be nominated from the floor of the Assembly in 
Albuquerque.  In addition, three others are contemplating floor campaigns. 
     The Rev. Richard Dolin, a parish associate at Harvey Browne 
Presbyterian Church in Louisville, and James B. Railing, an elder in First 
Presbyterian Church of Scottsburg, Ind., told the Presbyterian News Service 
they intend to run for the stated clerk's job at the Albuquerque Assembly. 
     Dolin is the longtime stated clerk of Louisville Presbytery and 
Railing is the current moderator of Ohio Valley Presbytery. Both men are 
     The Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick is the just-named nominee of the Stated 
Clerk Nomination Committee.  This nine-member body met over the past year 
and interviewed four Presbyterians for the job after reviewing 20 
applications.  Currently director of the denomination's Worldwide 
Ministries Division, Kirkpatrick has worked in ecumenical and national 
church circles for more than 20 years. 
     It is  widely acknowledged Kirkpatrick brings the race, a number of 
advantages: name-recognition, a reputation for integrity that some go so 
far as to call "squeaky-clean," and wide popularity -- especially among the 
mission-minded.  But other candidates are not just bowing out. 
     So it looks like both possible phases of the new process for electing 
the church's stated clerk will get implemented in Albuquerque. There will 
be a chance to consider Kirkpatrick, the candidate coming out of the 
completed search process. And there will be a chance to vote for other 
candidates nominated from the floor by the Assembly's commissioners. 
     "I think the decision needs to be made on the floor," Dolin said, 
explaining his decision to run from the floor despite the selection of a 
single nominee by the search committee.  "I'm always uncomfortable when 
decisions are made without alternatives. ... 
     "And I thought a long time ago:  no matter what, I'm continuing on." 
     That's Railing's rationale too.  He said he received encouragement to 
run even after Kirkpatrick's nomination was announced.  "I'm firmly 
committed to being nominated from the floor," Railing said.  He is well 
aware Assembly insiders might think he has not "paid enough dues" in 
national church work to be qualified, but he thinks of the job as a call. 
"I see the committee," he said, referring to the Assembly committee of 19 
that will convene to interview all the nominees, "as benefiting from the 
opportunity to examine several candidates." 
     Candidates -- including Kirkpatrick -- will be examined at the 
Assembly by a Candidate Review Committee consisting of the existing 
nine-member search committee plus 10 commissioners.  After five days the 
review committee will report its conclusions to the full Assembly.  Each 
nominee will have five minutes to address the Assembly before commissioners 
question both the committee and the nominees. 
     Two other Presbyterians are more circumspect about seeking the stated 
clerk's position:  the Rev. R. Richard Baldwin III of Evergreen 
Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., and moderator of the General 
Assembly Advisory Committee on the Constitution; and the Rev. W. Clark 
Chamberlain of Central Congregational Church in Houston, Texas, and stated 
clerk of the Synod of the Sun. 
     Baldwin -- who has been vocal about seeking the stated clerk's 
position for more than a year -- said he is "not inclined" to run against 
Kirkpatrick, whom he describes as "an excellent choice" by the search 
committee.  But neither is he -- currently -- ruling out running either. 
     The same is true for Chamberlain, who was elected the denomination's 
stated clerk in 1992 in Milwaukee but declined the election the next day. 
Though he declined comment on whether he intends to launch a campaign, 
Chamberlain said he is "not opposed" to considering the position once again 
as a call. 
     A third potential candidate -- another male -- was unwilling to go on 
the record at press time. But he has not ruled out seeking the position 
     Princeton Seminary student and Committee on the Office of the General 
Assembly member Brian Ellison, who chaired the search committee, said its 
members "probably expected" other candidates to run from the floor.  "But I 
guess we have mixed feelings ... We believe we've been faithful to our 
task.  We looked at all the applicants before us fairly.  And we believe 
we've chosen the most qualified person. 
     "At the same time, we respect the process," Ellison said, stressing 
that he has "every confidence" the nine committee members will be open to 
listening to all nominees as part of the Assembly's Candidate Review 
Committee.  "And I hope the 10 commissioners will have the same openness to 
listen to the nine who've been part of the process for a year.  Its not us 
versus them. ... 
     "The 19 of us will come together as a single group to explore options 
before us." 

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   Web page: 


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