Posted November 4, 2021 in Featured News

NOTE: The 2021 Synod of the Trinity Assembly gathering was held online in late October. Below are highlights of the meeting and links to corresponding videos and paperwork.

Synod of the Trinity

2021 Assembly Report

Online Zoom Gathering | Oct. 24-26


Recording of Tuesday’s gathering is available by clicking here.

Report of the Executive Search Committee

  • With the Rev. Susan Faye Wonderland’s contract ending on Dec. 31, a search committee was created 12 months ago to find her replacement. The Rev. Forrest Claassen (bio available here) was presented as the candidate, and after an interview time with the commissioners, he was voted to become the Synod’s new executive, starting Jan. 1. His contract runs through Dec. 31, 2026.

Closing Worship

  • Outgoing Synod Co-Moderator Charles Best (Carlisle) was recognized and celebrated for his service, along with three other commissioners who have faithfully filled their terms.
  • Bernice Adams (Redstone) was named a co-moderator for 2022 and will join current Co-Moderator Martha Jordan (Lackawanna) in that role for the next year. The co-moderator option, which aligns with the denomination’s structure and was used in 2021 on a trial basis, was reviewed earlier in the meeting and will continue moving forward.


Recording of the Monday morning and afternoon portion is available by clicking here.

Opening Worship

  • Outgoing Synod Transitional Executive Wonderland led worship with a sermon titled “The ‘H’ word,” referring to “hospitality.” “Hospitality is about extending the privileges of community to those who do not have the standing to expect it,” she said quoting Scott Cormode, “especially those who are vulnerable because they are strangers.”
  • The offering benefited Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and its recent work with Hurricane Ida. The amount collected to this point is $505. Contributions are still be accepted through this link or QR code on the information slide available here.
  • Online communion was held. Commissioners were mailed chalices from Israel made of olive wood as well as packaged shortbread for use during this time, a nod to the Scottish and Irish Presbyterians who settled here.
  • Musical accompaniment for opening and closing worship was supplied by Synod commissioner Matt Camlin (Shenango) and Bill Carter, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, PA (Lackawanna).

Distinguishment of Commissioners

  • Commissioners (green) and ex officio (maroon) were outfitted with matching T-shirts with the inscription “Being Together Apart.”

Acknowledgement of the Land

  • Allison Maus (Huntingdon commissioner) spoke about those native to the Synod of the Trinity region. After naming the indigenous peoples who originally inhabited the land, she said, “We remember this historical context of the land so that we may know our place in it but more importantly to note the ongoing and current process of colonialism and to acknowledge our role in perpetuating the system of colonialism directly and indirectly.”

Report of the Synod’s Permanent Judicial Commission

  • The decision of the Synod’s Permanent Judicial Committee in the Refreshing Springs Mission Church vs. Beaver-Butler Presbytery was read by Synod Stated Clerk Wayne Yost.

Financial Report

  • The financial report included a 2022 budget overview. The Synod per capita amount for 2022 will remain at $2.40, which was announced at last year’s Assembly. It was also reported that the per capita figure will stay at $2.40 for 2023, marking the fourth consecutive year without an increase in this amount.

Amendment to the Policy Governance Manual

  • A lengthy discussion was held regarding a proposed changed to the Synod’s sixth end (or purpose), which read “Fostering conversation and action for the promotion of social righteousness.” It was voted to change the language to “Fostering conversation and action for the promotion of justice and righteousness.” (See Sunday night conversation for further background.)

Synod Ends Review

  • Synod commissioners were placed into breakout rooms, allowing for small-group conversations regarding the Synod’s ends. Discussion focused on ways the Synod can take a deeper dive into fulfilling the ends.

Celebration of Susan Faye Wonderland’s Ministry

  • Synod Transitional Executive Susan Faye Wonderland was recognized for her service to the region Monday evening with a video compilation from current and former colleagues and gifts from the Synod’s presbyteries that are specific to their regions. A check was also gifted to Susan from the Synod to use for a trip in the future.


Covenantal Righteousness and Justice Conversation

  • Jimmie Hawkins, the Director of the PC(USA) Advocacy Offices, Office of Public Witness & Ministry at the United Nations, spoke on “Covenantal Righteousness and Justice” in part to provide background and clarity prior to the next day’s discussion on the wording of the Synod’s sixth end. Jimmie defined “covenantal” as a relationship or partnership in which two parties make binding promises to each other, and “righteousness” he said is the quality of being right in the eyes of God. “When we read about Jesus, and we see the example that Jesus has given us,” Jimmie said, “we are called to make a difference in this world.” View the recording by clicking here.