Heath Rada is first candidate for GA moderator

Western North Carolina Presbytery endorses longtime educator

May 2, 2013

Heath Rada

Heath Rada


The race is on for moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with the announcement by Western North Carolina Presbytery that it has endorsed Heath K. Rada for the denomination’s top elected post.

The moderator of the 2014 General Assembly will be elected on June 14, 2014 on the first day of the Assembly in Detroit. The person elected will moderate the Assembly and then serve as the public face and voice for the PC(USA) for the ensuing two years.

Rada, a native of Richmond, Va., retired to Montreat, N.C., in Western North Carolina Presbytery after retiring as CEO of the Greater Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross where he served as coordinator for the work of that organization in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He also held the positions of interim CEO of Red Cross Chapters in San Diego, Minneapolis-St.Paul, and Ft.Worth. 

Prior to his work with the American Red Cross, Rada served as president of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (PSCE), which is now part of Union Presbyterian Seminary, for 12 years. As such, he was the first layperson to head on of the PC(USA)’s theological schools.

Rada has served at all levels of the PC(USA). He currently serves on the boards of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the General Assembly, the Montreat Conference Center, and the Presbyterian Homes of North Carolina.  He has also been active in community organizations everywhere he has lived and worked.

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University and PSCE, Rada embarked on a first career as an educator. He became the first Caucasian public school teacher in Henrico County, Va. to join the faculty of an all African-American school. Since then, he has been a faculty member of several colleges and universities here in the United States as well as visiting scholar on five continents.

He was named North Carolina’s first Community Educator of the Year, recipient of the Margaret Bowen Award in Christian Education, and Humanitarian of the Year by the Richmond chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

“This is a serious commitment,” Rada said of his decision to accept Western North Carolina’s endorsement for moderator . “No one can do it unless they are confident it is something they were meant to do, God willing. I have prayed about it, talked to people I trust, to people who know me, my history and abilities, and I have opened my eyes and ears and heart to God. I am humbled to be asked, even more humbled to say yes. And this I can promise: I will give it my all, should I be chosen.”  

At the same time, he added, “Being moderator is not a position you should ‘run for’ or ‘campaign for’ in the aggressive political sense. God is at work in the process. All I can do is to offer myself up to God’s will. I see it as a blessing to be considered by my peers as a candidate for the job.”

Rada is married to his wife of 46 years, Peggy. They have two children and two grandchildren and are members of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, N.C.

  1. As a lifelong Presbyterian and active elder, I cannot think of anyone in the PCUSA denomination that knows the workings and the needs of the church in tis time and place. Heath is articulate, open-minded, spirit-led in the BEST and most legitimate sense of the words, and a man of visn and sensitivity. He is a calm voice in conflict, a wise thinker in hot issues, and always, always puts the love of God and the life-model of Jesus Christ before popularity, personal gain or political piety. He is the right pson to model and to collaborate in leading the church forward in 2014.

    by Ina Jones Hughs

    May 10, 2014

  2. St. Andrew Church in Boulder, Colorado, rejoices with Heath in his call to the moderatorial discernment process. Their daughter Mary Talmage is a ruling elder at St. Andrew, and our session has endorsed his candidacy. I hope other sessions and presbyteries will follow suit. Our prayers are with the process, trusting in the Spirit's guidance.

    by Stanley E. Adamson

    January 8, 2014

  3. Congratulations Heath from Ann at the grovewood Cafe. I'm confident God will choose you to continue his work!

    by Ann McNamara

    May 7, 2013

  4. The lead sentence in this report was most disappointing in its use of a form of the term "race for the moderator". In a rare slip from the fine reporting he typically does, Jerry Van Marter and his editor have let us down with that secular verbiage. Fortunately, Mr. Rada recognizes his role as one called to be considered by the General Assembly for service as Moderator. On recalling his credentials, particularly his time at PSCE, I appprecate his listening to that call and look forward to learning more about him.

    by Thomas Fultz, Ruling Elder

    May 3, 2013