Every two years my denomination, The Presbyterian Church (USA) meets for our national gathering called General Assembly. This gathering an amalgamation of a worship service, a family reunion and a business meeting and it is just lovely — frustrating at times, but the vehicle through which many of us choose to live our faith. This year we meet for the 221st time and it will be held in Detroit, MI, June 14-21, 2014.
The first order of business is to elect a Moderator, the person who, along with a Vice-Moderator, helps to guide the week’s deliberations and then, for the next two years, travels on behalf of the PC(USA). This was the position I held from 2008-2010 and it was an honor and a privilege.
This year there are three candidates standing for Moderator: Heath Rada, Kelly Allen and John Wilkinson each of whom I have had a chance to speak with and each of whom are faithfully following God’s call into this election process. While only commissioners at the General Assembly are part of the election I have always believed it important for the larger church to know more about the candidates: their personalities and their stories, so each cycle, I have interviewed the candidate about various issues. This year, I decided to leave the “deep” stuff to some others like The Outlook, Ecclesio, and The GA Junkie and I took a different tact. Rather than solicit responses to “hot button” topics, I asked each of them 10 questions that I hope will help to broaden our knowledge and experience of each candidate.
I hope you enjoy their responses, I know I did.
10 Questions with Kelly Allen, Candidate for Moderator
For the sci-fi nerds out there, without having to justify your answer, choose one: Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, Firefly or Lost?
What was the last movie that you saw in a theater?
Godzilla (it was my daughter’s idea). If I wouldn’t have seen that one, I would have been able to say The Grand Budapest Hotel which is definitely more “me”.
What band, musician or album should be required listening?
Elton John — because it’s happy music but you can never say you are completely sure what he means.
If you had to pick one place in your town to bring a tourist, where would you go?
The Spanish Missions, especially Mission San Jose.
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
The story told yesterday at our presbytery meeting by a retiring pastor about her worst presbytery meeting, during which, as she walked down the hall, the elastic in her skirt gave way and fell to her ankles.
What is the last book that you read cover to cover?
Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East, by Rabbi Michael Lerner (truthfully I have about 30 pages left).
What have you always thought would be a cool occupation to have?
Besides the cool one, pastor, I already have? Owner of an independent bookstore or a mounted police officer.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
That cold octopus in squid ink is pretty much the only food I don’t like (so far).
What is one issue, cause, or injustice in the world that you wish more people paid attention to?
The fact that the US incarcerates more people than any other nation and that the majority are people of color.
How can those who are reading your answers pray for you, your family and your community?
For me, pray that my life reflects a trust in the sufficiency of God’s grace in all things.For my family, pray for a sustaining of the bonds that make us one. For my community of University Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, pray for staff and leadership as they continue to discover new gifts and strengths moving forward.
If you want to find out more you can get to know Kelly more on her Moderator Website, Blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. You can also see 10 Questions with Heath Rada, 10 Questions with John Wilkinson as well as GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: Kelly Allen and Leslie Murphy King from Ecclesio.