Genesee Valley Presbytery in upstate New York has endorsed the Rev. John Wilkinson, pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, for moderator of next summer’s 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Wilkinson joins Ruling Elder Heath Rada of Western North Carolina Presbytery as candidates for the PC(USA)’s top elected post. The moderator serves a two-year term, presiding over the weeklong Assembly and then traveling, speaking and representing the church until the following General Assembly.
Wilkinson has been pastor of Third Presbyterian Church since 2001. A second generation Presbyterian minister, he graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in American religious history.
His ministry has focused on urban settings. While at McCormick, he served an internship at Lake View Presbyterian Church on Chicago’s north side, then served pastorates at St. James Presbyterian Church and Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago before the call to Rochester.
Wilkinson has served at all levels of the PC(USA). Currently moderator of Genesee Valley Presbytery, he has also served on search committees, Committee on Preparation for Ministry and Committee on Ministry.
At the General Assembly level, Wilkinson was a member of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church ― commonly called “PUP” ― and he is currently a member of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, for which he served as moderator.
Wilkinson has served on the boards of two seminaries ― McCormick and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School ― and was at the drawing board for the formation of several church-related groups including the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, NEXT Church and the Rochester-based consortium Urban Presbyterians Together.
Following his endorsement, Wilkinson said, “I am humbled, excited and a little daunted to be endorsed by my presbytery colleagues and friends to serve the church in this way at such an important time. The theme for the Detroit General Assembly is “Abound in Hope.” I have embraced a theme for my own efforts based on that: “With an urgency born of this hope…” is not only an affirmation from the Presbyterian Confession of 1967, but it is a theological promise as well. The Presbyterian family is facing change and conflict. Yet we are called to be urgent ― not anxious or fearful ― as we face our future. The hope we embrace is not our own, but is a gracious gift from God. As we affirm this gift and rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit, we will live into a Presbyterian future filled with possibility and transformation. I hope that my vision, gifts and experiences might serve the church in this important moment, and I am grateful indeed for my presbytery’s affirmation.”
Wilkinson and his spouse, Bonny Claxton, are the parents of Kenneth, a junior at Rochester Institute of Technology, and Ann, a senior at Brighton High School in Rochester. He is an avid fan of baseball, as well as Bruce Springsteen, the Simpsons and all things pop culture.
More information at www.johnwilkinsonpcusa.com