John Wilkinson, Candidate for ModeratorEvery 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.

Bruce Reyes-Chow

10 Questions with John Wilkinson, 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?

Star Trek

What was the last movie that you saw in a theater?


What band, musician or album should be required listening?

Bruce Springsteen, The Rising

If you had to pick one place in your town to bring a tourist, where would you go?

Mt. Hope Cemetery (by Frederick Law Olmstead), graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Spitting watermelon seeds with my family at a picnic last night

What is the last book that you read cover to cover?

Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger

What have you always thought would be a cool occupation to have?

Baseball Announcer (radio only!)

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I once played tennis with the future Archbishop of Canterbury in Tantur, Israel!

What is one issue, cause, or injustice in the world that you wish more people paid attention to?

Crushing urban poverty

How can those who are reading your answers pray for you, your family and your community?

Pray for me for a sense of joy and hope as I continue to prepare and anticipate the Detroit experience, that my gifts and call will somehow make a useful contribution to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church;  for my family: my wife Bonny and her work at the Rochester Presbyterian Home, our daughter Ann as she graduates from high school and enters the College of Wooster, our son Kenneth as he continues his engineering education;  our families across the country; the Third Church congregation in Rochester as they seek to serve the city faithfully and joyfully; pray for love and justice in our cities, our nation and world…

Bruce Reyes-Chow

If you want to find out more you can get to know Kelly more on her Moderator Website, on Twitter, on YouTube, and on Facebook. You can also see 10 Questions with Heath Rada, 10 Questions with Kelly Allen as well as GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: John Wilkinson and MaryAnn McKibben Dana from Ecclesio.

And finally, if you are into such things, follow #GA221 on Twitter and catch the General Assembly livestream for the election of the Moderator on Saturday, June 14 at 7:00pm EDT.

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