This is reposted from the current vice moderator, Byron Wade’s blog.
What is this Moderator/Vice-Moderator thing all about?
As I have been traveling and talking about the church, it is inevitable that someone will ask the question, “What do you do?’, etc. So to save some time and give you the opportunity to be better informed, I have listed common asked questions with answers:
1. What is the role of the Moderator/Vice-Moderator?
The role of the Moderator and Vice-Moderator of the Assembly is two-fold: 1) to preside over the plenary business sessions of the General Assembly in which elected and over the next General Assembly until a new Moderator is elected and 2) to be an ambassador for the church, interpreting the work of the church and listening to as well as participating in mission in the local entities (churches, presbyteries, etc.)
2. What specifically can you be requested to do?
Bruce and I are asked to do just about anything. We are asked to preach for church anniversaries and presbytery events; lead workshops; facilitate discussions; keynote events; lead bible studies and/or worship; interpret General Assembly actions to local congregations/presbyteries; participate in ordinations/installations and commissioning services, etc. We are asked to do a number of things!
3. How long is your term?
The term is for two years, meaning that we will end our journey at the 219th General Assembly (2010) in Minneapolis, MN when the new Moderator is elected during the Plenary session.
4. Who do you report to?
Other than our local congregations and presbyteries, we report to the Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Council.
5. How did this all happen for you both?
That is a long story and will have to tell you in another blogpost!
6. How are your expenses handled?
If we are requested and accept the invitation, the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) pays for our travel and the host will assume transportation and lodging responsibilities. Bruce and I are also given a church credit card to cover any incidentals.
7. How is travel determined?
Anyone who wants either of us to come has to submit paperwork from either Bruce and I or OGA. When it is received OGA will notify us of the event and through a process determine whether we will accept or not. Part of that process is determined by presbytery/synod visitation because it is important the each synod has a visit. Technically, the Vice-Moderator will only travel at the request of the Moderator. However, Bruce and I have made it a priority that we model shared or collaborative leadership so the visits over the next two years will be more equal to a 50/50 model instead of him traveling all the time. We are also assigned international areas; I am assigned to Latin America and Africa. Bruce will be going to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
8. Both of you are pastors. Who supplies your pulpit while you are gone?
In my case, I have two commissioned lay pastors and one candidate who can fill in while I am away. In addition, I have many people in our presbytery who have offered to preach in my absence so I have a list of about 20 lay pastors/ministers who can cover for me. Bruce has a similar situation although he uses interns and seminarians who can do the same for his congregation.
This is all for now. I will write a part II the end of this week and if any of you have a question you would like to ask, please feel free to send it to me!