Karen L. Schmidt has announced her resignation as deputy executive director for communications and funds development for the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC), effective May 11, to return to her native Chicago.

Schmidt came to the PC(USA) national staff in April 2007. During that time, according the denomination’s Research Services office, awareness of the mission and ministry of the GAMC has more than doubled. In addition, GAMC print publications ― Presbyterians Today, the Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study and the Presbyterian Planning Calendar ― have been retooled and have achieved combined financial sustainability. The PC(USA) Web site has been completely redesigned. And a team of professional fundraisers has been assembled and has raised tens of millions of dollars, particularly for Presbyterian World Mission. Systems have been put in place to ensure accountability to donors and to thank them for their support.

“For these gifts and more, I am grateful to Karen for her efforts to further Christ’s mission through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said GAMC Executive Director Linda Valentine in announcing Schmidt’s departure April 23.

Schmidt is a ruling elder and member of First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn, Ill.

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Long-time Presbyterian pillar Bill Rodewald died April 20 after a six-month battle with cancer.

Rodewald was a leader of Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship in Palm Desert, Calif., a new church development of Riverside Presbytery. His wife, Jerri, is a member of the PC(USA)’s Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns and has served as co-chair of the group.

A memorial service for Bill Rodewald ― a real Presbyterian good guy ― will be held May 7 at First Presbyterian Church of Redlands, Calif.

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George H. Shorney, 80, a hymn publisher who helped lead a resurgence of hymn writing in the 1970s and 1980s, died March 31 at his winter home in Naples Fla.

The Chicago native took his family's Hope Publishing Company from its roots in gospel music and hymn books and broadened its scope to include choral music. After graduating from college in 1954, Shorney served in the U.S. Navy and joined Hope, then run by his father, in 1958. He served as president of the company from 1970 to 1991 and then was its chairman until his retirement in 2001.

“George helped bring about the ‘hymnic explosion,’ which was a British phenomenon of hymn writers, to the American scene,” said retired Emory University Candler School of Theology church music professor Carlton R. Young, who edited hymnals for Shorney. “He was unique in that regard, and he influenced a generation of hymnals and hymnal committees.”

Shorney’s memorial service was held April 17 at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.