Dear Madame Moderator . . .

REFLECTIONS BY OTHERS* - PCUASA News | Theresa Cho | Jan Edmiston | Ruth EverhartMark Koenig | Michael Kruse | Krista PhillipsDerrick Weston | Mike White | Presbyterian Outlook

UPDATE 12.13.12 - Memorial Service for Cynthia J. Bolbach will be held Saturday, December 15th at 1:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, VA where she served so faithfuly as an elder and Clerk of Session. A reception will follow at the church.

UPDATE II – 12.12.12 – From friend Teri, “At 2:00 pm on 12-12-12 our favorite Moderator left this world and went to Moderate meetings with Martin Luther, John Calvin, Bonhoeffer and Jesus. She went peacefully in her sleep with friends and family surrounding her. Actually, I had just finished reading her all your postings on Facebook about her. As soon as we have funeral arrangements confirmed I will post them here. Thank you for all your love and prayers.

UPDATE I – 12.12.12 - From some who are with Cindy, “I am posting this on behalf of Cindy. She is resting comfortably but has been noncommunicative since about noon Tuesday. One of her last conversations was expressing her gratitude for all the prayers and support she has received through her illness. She asked me to convey her deep appreciation. She said- No maudlin or mushy posts will be tolerated. So the moderator has spoken. We give thanks for her life, her ministry and her friendship.

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Photo: New Covenant Presbytery

One of the things that you learn early on when serving as the Moderator of the  Generally Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is that, in most part of the world and in many parts of the church, no one cares and most folks probably don’t even know who you are.

It is difficult to take oneself too seriously.

The other thing that one quickly learns is that in many parts of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and around the world, there is a deep affection for the office of Moderator. In a tradition that does not have Bishops or Presidents, it is a position that, for a brief moment in time, is tasked with holding the story of our church family: listening to our diverse voices, holding with care our struggles and the hopes and serving in a way that helps the church grow into who God intends us to become.

It is also important to take the office seriously.

It is in this tension between authority and insignificance where I believe most of us former moderators have been transformed by the experience and, hopefully, have held the office in a way that is pleasing to God and good for the church.

No one revelled and thrived in that tension better than the Moderator of the 219th General Assembly, Ruling Elder Cynthia Bolbach. Her sharp, dry humor, fused with a keen and caring mind held the office in a way that was unique and powerful for our church at all levels.

As she served her term, she discovered that cancer would be part of her story and today, after a long journey, her church family has learned that she has entered hospice care. Knowing Cindy, she is entering these final days with the same humor, class, passion and faithfulness with which she has always served her God . . . and for this her church and her God give thanks.

Feel free to leave comments on this post or on Facebook [my page and/or my profile] as there are folks surrounding her who know that many of us are holding Cindy in prayer and may peek in and share with Cindy.

Me first . . .

Dear, Madame Moderator.  Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), you served like none before and none will ever do again. The world, the church and this guy have been transformed for the better because of you. We smile with you now and always.

God in your mercy, grace and peace . . . hear our prayer.

*Please let me know if there are other reflections to add and I will.


  • Cindy Caporaso  

    We had a storm on January 11, 2011 in Jersey. It was the night of a historic Presbytery meeting and vote. Our church was the site and host of the meeting. She came despite the snow and she spoke. She left a little earlier than expected only because of the weather and her travel plans. I remember that it was an exciting night for all of us. The church was packed with Presbyterians! I learned a lot that night. I saw and heard her commitment, dedication and passion. And today, I am truly reminded of what an honor her visit was for me and for all of us. Blessings to you for your kind words and for posting this. Thank you.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      I do love when Presbyterians gather. With all of our problems, we are still family.

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  • Jo Ann Staebler  

    Cindy, I hope you don’t mind that my eyes are watering. I weep for the joy you brought to the world, the church, and to me, and for the incomparable loss to the church as you leave us behind. May God be eternally praised for creating such an extraordinary gem, and heartfully thanked for entrusting you to the church for a time.

  • Kathy Carrasco  

    Can you just picture it: Cindy Bolbach standing at the gates of heaven, while St. Peter turns the pages of the Book, and she’s saying, “We await results.” I don’t tend to think of Jesus as smiling or laughing, but this time I do, offering his arm to steady her steps. Go to your well-earned rest, great lady!

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      For sure. I think Jesus would even give a little smirk.

  • Eric Ledermann  

    Many of us are continuing to hold Cindy and her family in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Krista Phillips  

    Cindy has been a blessing and taught us so much about living as grace in this world. May the peace of Christ dwell within her this day and always.

  • Karen Wagner  

    Good and faithful servant of God, may you find God’s peace and love surrounding you and your loved ones in this part of your journey.

  • Tina Vial  

    Cindy, your legacy to the PCUSA is your abiding grace, humor, and gentle spirit. We all hold you in our hearts and prayers this day, knowing God is prepared to welcome you with love and peace that surpasses understanding.

  • MB McCandless  

    May you, and those who surround you, experience God’s peace and presence through this part of your journey.

  • Rebecca Tollefson  

    May you experience the warmth of Gods love.

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