Church Consultants’ assignments shift to support relationship building

December 18, 2018

​The Board of Pensions is reassigning Church Consultants effective January 1, 2019, to deepen bonds with congregations and increase participation in conversations throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

​Church Consultants are geographically located so they can personally assist congregations, mid councils, and employers. Traditionally, they have been located based on synod boundaries. But today, the boundaries of metropolitan areas with large concentrations of Presbyterians are more relevant to serving the Church, said Andrew J. Browne, Vice President, Church Relations.

“These changes move us into the pews and deeper into the church center,” Mr. Browne said. “They build on our efforts so far to create a pipeline of ministers for the future.”

The Reverend Dr. Edward Thompson is being promoted to Senior Church Consultant and Director of Interagency Relations, and will relocate to Louisville to work out of the Presbyterian Center. Rev. Thompson, who currently serves presbyteries in Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, will act as Senior Consultant for Kentucky and the presbyteries of Cincinnati, Ohio Valley, and Southeastern Illinois.

 “We need to be closer to the other agencies, who are in Louisville or, in the case of the Presbyterian Foundation, just across the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Indiana,” Mr. Browne said. “With Edward at the Center, we’ll be included in PC(USA) conversations. We’ll be at the table with diverse voices. And we’ll be helping lay a path for those who will lead the Church in the next generation.”

In other changes, Clark Simmons is being promoted to Senior Church Consultant, with responsibility for the Southeastern United States.

The assignments of seven other Consultants will also change, as follows:

  • The Reverend Kenneth Green, Consultant for Synod of Lakes and Prairies, northern Illinois, and northern Indiana
  • The Reverend Kevin Keaton, Consultant for Synods of Mid-America and the Sun
  • Elizabeth M. Little, Consultant for North Carolina and South Carolina
  • The Reverend Dr. Douglas Portz, Senior Consultant for Synods of the Covenant and the Trinity, except Presbyteries of Cincinnati, Donegal, and Philadelphia
  • Martha H. Reisner, Consultant for Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, except North Carolina, and for the Presbyteries of Donegal and Philadelphia
  • Keenan Rodgers, Associate Consultant for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee
  • The Reverend Dr. Allison K. Seed, Consultant for Synod of the Northeast until her retirement January 31, 2019; a search for her replacement is underway

Church Consultants present overviews of the church Benefits Plan and Board programs, help congregations and employers identify benefits needs, and expand awareness of the Assistance Program. These changes continue a reorganization of Church Engagement that began in 2016 with the goal of improving relations with denominational partners.