"Unsung Heroes" was intended to be a depiction of those who work behind-the-scenes to ensure an effective and successful General Assembly -- and I hope to return to that next week. But this week the "unsung heroes" who I want to lift up are those who work for our denomination at the national level, whether at 100 Witherspoon in Louisville or across the country.
The General Assembly Mission Council has adopted a 2013 budget that will mean further job cuts - on top of cuts that have now occurred regularly over the past several years. I don't intend for this post to debate the reasons why financial cutbacks are necessary. And I understand that job losses, reductions in hours worked, cutbacks in 401(k) plans, are, unfortunately, a fact of life for many Presbyterians.
What I do want to do is to lift up those who have discerned God calling them to be national staff for our denomination -- despite perilous job security, despite hearing only when things go wrong rather than when they go right, despite taking hits for things that they don't control. People always ask me, "what good is happening in the P.C. (USA)?" and one of my answers is, "the staff members who give their intelligence, energy, imagination and love without measure."
Some have asserted that the staff, working behind the scenes, controls what the church does. As co-moderator of a denominational task force for four years, and as Moderator for two, I can say such assertions are paranoidal idiocy. The staff simply seeks to carry out what we, the church, decide to do and they do so effectively.
So, today, I want to thank all, from Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine on down, who work with faith and commitment for the upbuilding of the Presbyterian Church (USA).