From the Worldwide Faith News archives

A new twist on an old theme

Date 19 Jun 2002 12:53:06 -0400

Note #7271 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


A new twist on an old theme

Stated clerk shows flexibility, goes to the mat for his friends

by Emily Enders Odom

COLUMBUS, OH - "It's like working on the per-capita budget," the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly, said while puzzling over new social entanglements in the assembly exhibit hall.

Kirkpatrick was mixing it up with eager volunteers, playing the twist-stretch-and-fall-down game of Twister, which he was playing for the first time ever.

Kirkpatrick, who prides himself on his flexibility, got in the game at the Presbyterians Today display area, under the wide eyes of a visiting youth group from 230-member North Presbyterian Church, in La Crosse, WI.

The stated clerk went to the mat with North Church's pastor, the Rev. Scott Skogen.

"When I saw that the Assembly was in Columbus, a day's drive for us," Skogan said, "I thought it would be something for the kids to see."

Boy howdy.

Skogen, who was attending General Assembly for the first time, said it was a positive experience, apart from his encounter with Kirkpatrick.

"When you sit at the (local) church and hear all of the arguments," he said, "it's good to see real people dealing with significant issues."

Of his historic Twister set-to with the denomination's chief ecclesiastical officer, Skogen said: "This is one for the record books. It has made our trip so far."

Among those most delighted by Kirkpatrick's appearance was Sharon Kutz-Mellem, circulation and promotion manager for Presbyterians Today. It was her idea to create a homey place at the Assembly where people could "rest, relax, have fun, and have community." 

In addition to Twister., Scrabble. and other popular board games were made available to commissioners and visitors in a living room-style setting.

"People are smiling at the General Assembly," Skogen said. "That's good, isn't it?"
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