Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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42 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay God's children serving in one way or another. That advice includes realiz- ing that it's OK to say "no" and to find your own voice. "Everyone does this differently," Anderson said. Whoever the next moderator will be, Anderson sees that person or team coming into a denomination "at a very hopeful time." "We are poised to do some really cooperative work, God willing, but my advice would be to pace yourself," she said. As for the future, Anderson will be able to devote more time as pastor of Unity Presbyterian Church in Temple Hills, Maryland. Edmiston has just begun her new role as general presbyter with the Presbytery of Charlotte. "People ask if we will stumble over the finish line because we are exhausted, and I don't think we will," Edmiston said. "We've really loved it, but we will also be happy to give it up too." Rick Jones is a communications strategist for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. many challenges remain in the next two years. "We, as a church, still have issues that divide us. I think about fossil fuel, for example. We have many Presbyterians who are in the oil and energy business and quite a few who have concerns about the environmen- tal impact of those industries. That conversation will continue," said Edmiston. Anderson wishes more could have been done to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. "That work is very much in line with that we are hoping to see the denomination live into. The obstacle there in appointing the task force is that the assembly stipulated that 50 percent must be people of color," she said. "Even if you are the moderator, getting that many people of color to go out to teach a 90 percent white denomination about racism is a hard sell." As they look at the end of their two-year journey, Edmiston and Anderson offer advice that is not just for future moderators, but for all repent and be honest about that and do better." 'Life-giving' teamwork As their term ends, Anderson and Edmiston believe the co-moderator model is something that should continue. The advantage, according to Edmiston, boils down to having a strong relationship. "Denise and I were at National Capital Presbytery. She was still under care when I left for the Chicago Presbytery, and I admired her writing and I would have her write for my blog. We also had a lot of the same friends. It has been so great. Because we know each other, I can say pretty much anything to her, and she certainly can say things to me," she said. "We didn't have to take time to get to know each other." This came in handy, Edmiston said, when requests to write some- thing came from a variety of groups. "There would be times I was swamped and just couldn't do it. But I trust Denise completely to write something with both of our names on it, and she has done the same for me. I show it to her before it goes public and she shows it to me. But we are on the same wavelength in terms of where we are in our hopes as a denomination." Anderson says the fact that the two have remained friends the past two years is a testament to the success of a co-moderator model. "Not only have we remained friends, but we've deepened our friendship. It can prove to be difficult to work with a friend. And what we found is that this work has been very life-giving," she said. "I hope we've been able to confirm the dreams for that model that others have had. I think the chief accomplishment is being able to do something that had not yet been done before." A challenging future As for their successor or successors, Anderson and Edmiston believe COURTESY OF PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN Edmiston and Anderson were friends prior to becoming co-moderators, but the experience of serving together, they say, has deepened their bond.

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