From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] GA is exotic setting for pastor's mystery novel

Date 15 Jun 2002 13:38:40 -0400

Note #7219 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

GA is exotic setting for pastor's mystery novel
June 14, 2002

GA is exotic setting for pastor's mystery novel

by Midge Mack

COLUMBUS, OH - Commissioners to the 214th General Assembly (GA) probably have found it pretty darn mysterious so far  and the Rev. Hugh Burroughs has written a whodunit that promises to make it all the more puzzling.

Attempted Murder at the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mystery set in the here and now. The slim novel (120 pages) was written last year, then rewritten after Labor Day because the original script was too reminiscent of the tragic reality of the terror attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, of last Sept. 11, and the U.S. war on terror that has ensued.

The novel, Burroughs' first, is a light-hearted primer for new commissioners, poking fun at the foibles of Presbyterians in general and GA participants in particular. It is intended to familiarize Presbyterians with Columbus and introduce Presbyterians to the people of Columbus.
Burroughs knows whereof he speaks; he is a veteran of 22 Assemblies over the past 25 years. Once, long ago, he served as a commissioner; since then he has served the PC(USA) in various GA-related capacities, including adjunct staffer and advisory committee member. In everyday life he is the pastor of two Presbyterian congregations in California - one in Point Reyes (28 members), the other in San Geronimo  (48 members), both in the San Francisco Bay area. He also is host of a Sunday morning religious program, Mosaic, on KPIX, the local CBS affiliate.

What makes his book different from others written by Presbyterians is its immediate and timely setting - and the fact that any proceeds from the project will be used to support mission schools abroad, notably including Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, and a dozen elementary schools in that country.

For the past six years, Burroughs and his wife, Gail, have visited Pakistan at least twice a year to help the schools. In the meantime, the Pakistani government has changed twice, via military coups, and has withdrawn its support of the schools.

"They need building repair, they need books, they need chalk . . . all the basics," Burroughs says of the schools. 

"When I was a pastor in Santa Monica, I wrote a screenplay, so I knew I'd enjoy writing a mystery," he says. "The idea just suddenly came when I thought about what I could do to help the students at these schools."
Proceeds from the book will go to the Presbyterian Property Trust in Pakistan, which funds the schools.

Because "Attempted Murder" isn't a product of an official Presbyterian-related publisher, it can't be sold in the GA's exhibit hall. However, Burroughs is planning to be "around" the Assembly and available to mystery lovers and others interested buying a unique souvenir of their experience here. The price is $10.
Send your response to this article to

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send an 'unsubscribe' request to

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home