From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Texas Pastor to Run for PC(USA) Stated Clerk

Date 28 Apr 2000 10:42:31

Note #5873 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


	Texas Pastor to Run for PC(USA) Stated Clerk

	by Alexa Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A pastor from Texas has announced his candidacy for
stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

	The Rev. Winfield ‘Casey' Jones, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in
Pearland, Texas, said he intends to run for the office of stated clerk in a
statement issued from his parish on Maundy Thursday, April 21.

	"My main motivation in doing so is to be obedient to God and to speak
truth, and in so doing, hopefully, to present an alternate vision not only
for the clerk's office, but also for our denomination as a whole," Jones'
statement read, while describing the need for a deeper understanding of the
denomination's confessions -- 11 statements that compose the first part of
the constitution.  Or, as Jones puts it: "overcome ... [our] theological and
confessional ‘quietism ...'"

	Jones will be running against the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the incumbent
stated clerk who has been nominated for a second four-year term by the
Stated Clerk Review Nomination Committee.

	  The election will be held during the 212th General Assembly in Long
Beach, Calif., June 20 through July 1.

	The clerk's office is responsible for the PC(USA)'s ecclesiastical affairs,
including the annual meeting the General Assembly, keeping the minutes and
records of the church, managing church judicial processes, maintaining
historical records and archives, and coordinating relations with other
churches and church councils.

	So far, Jones and Kirkpatrick are the only candidates, though nominations
will be invited from the floor by the moderator of the Assembly.

	"I believe," Jones said, "that as we continue to seek to fulfill the
commitment of the 1994 (Wichita) Assembly that ‘Theology Matters,' we will
need to spend more and more time as a denomination consulting our core
theology -- Part I of the constitution, the Book of Confessions.  I believe
the clerk, as a defender and preserver of our constitution, has a crucial
role to play in helping initiate and lead this return to our Confessions as
Part I of our Constitution."

	Jones said "preserving and defending the constitution" and "preserving
truth," which are part of the stated clerk's job description, means
publishing materials to help local church leaders better understand the
confessions and to be clear when issuing public statements about the
denomination's theological stance; for instance, he said, standing for civil
rights for gays and lesbians, while simultaneously reminding them that,
theologically, the church considers homosexual practice a sin.

	  He is also suggesting that the clerk occasionally issue advisory opinions
on the confessions to guide the church on complex matters.

	The clerk should protect and defend the constitution," Jones said,
emphasizing that he believes the denomination often neglects the Book of
Confessions.  "It is something that needs more attention ... and it needs to
be done more than it is being done.  Cliff has tried to move us in this
direction, but not far enough."

	Jones has long held the view that the denomination ought to define what it
calls the "essential tenets" of Reformed faith and polity, something prior
General Assemblies have been reluctant to do -- though Jones was the
overture advocate for such action at the 208th General Assembly in
Albuquerque, N.M.  But in core areas of creedal theology -- such as
incarnation, Trinity, authority of scripture and justification by grace
through faith -- Jones believes that more specificity is necessary for
church leaders and members.

	A former law student, Jones is a 1979 graduate of Union Theological
Seminary in Virginia. and has served two parishes in Texas as pastor and two
others in Virginia as a student pastor.  He was a commissioner to the 1995
General Assembly in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He has served at the presbytery-level
in both Mission and New Covenant Presbyteries on multiple committees,
including the Candidates' Committee, the Evangelism Committee, the
Examinations Committee, the Committee on Representation and the Committee on

	His wife, Vicky, is a Presbyterian minister.  The couple has two children,
Steven, 18, and Lydia, 16.

	"The 1994 Assembly said, ‘Theology Matters.'  The logical follow up is for
the 2000 Assembly, as we begin a new millennium, to say, ‘The Confessions
Matter," because they contain the church's theology.  My desire, as clerk,
would be to help make this happen," he wrote in his public statement.

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