From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GA elder returns as minister after 16 years

Date 20 Jun 2002 09:07:38 -0400

Note #7278 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


GA elder returns as minister after 16 years

by Nancy Rodman

COLUMBUS, OH - In 1986, Dierdre Thomson attended General Assembly as an elder from Monmouth Presbytery.

This year she's attending as the Rev. Dierdre Thomson, representing the same presbytery.  

"I thought I'd notice some more differences between being an elder and a minister commissioner," she said. "The elders are treated very much as equals, so that part is the same. I think a little more deeply now, and from a different point of view. I have a little more knowledge of parliamentary procedure."

Asked whether the additional knowledge was help or hindrance, she laughed and replied: "It's more frustrating to me now than in '86, when I see that parliamentary procedure is not used to its fullest extent so we can do things in good order without a lot of delay."

In 1986, Thomson served on the Bills and Overtures Committee. This year she was assigned to Procedures, and one result, she said, is that "I have had more time to enjoy the Assembly this time."

She said the two widely-separated Assemblies are alike in the quality of Youth Advisory Delegates. "The ones I've seen," she said, "seem to really listen and to have well-thought-out comments and questions."

Another similarity, she said, is between the worship services: "The opening worship services were both magnificent, and very inspirational."

Thomson said she hopes commissioners at this Assembly "will continue to seek God's will in any action we take, and can continue, as we did in committee, to work out our differences without animosity. ...

"I'd like to see people that we don't know smile back in response to our glow as we serve as Ambassadors for Christ."

Thomson is a former hospice chaplain now channeling her energies toward bringing Stephen Ministry to her congregation at the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church.  She serves the congregation as parish associate. Her duties increased when Old Tennent's pastor was called to active military duty in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, forcing her to take on "all the day-to-day, nuts-and-bolts stuff."   
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