Note: Commissioner profiles are appearing regularly in the Synod of the Trinity enews.
Family (spouse, children, grandchildren, pets): Nan S. Leslie, retired Professor from WVU and Nurse practitioner; Erin Venarchick, Physical Therapist; Scott Leslie, Physician; Four grandchildren in various stages of growing up; presently a happy Giant Schnauzer.
In what capacity do you serve (church name and leadership position, presbytery board, synod committee, etc.)?: First Presbyterian Church 1793, Washington, PA. Ruling Elder since 1978, President of the Corporation, Treasurer, Chair of current Capital Campaign. I lead an Adult Study weekly. Currently I am a Synod Commissioner and serve on Policy Governance
In what other capacity have you served in the past (former churches, committees, etc.)?: Over the years I have served on most committees of Session. Served as Moderator for: Committee On Ministry, Personnel Committee, Finance and Budget, Mission Committee and Trustees.
When you’re not serving your church, what can you be found doing?: Gentleman farmer, woodworking, reading in the natural sciences, theology, philosophy, mysteries and the backs of cereal boxes.
Describe yourself in one word: Busy
What was your childhood dream job?: Medicine
What steered you into this ministry field?: My highest respect was for my farm-family parents, the local family physician and two ministers, in that order. Having felt no call to the ministry, I chose the easy alternative that I believed that I would enjoy. While practicing obstetrics-gynecology, I did, never worked a day in my life.
What goals do you have while serving as commissioner?: In the beginning five years ago I wasn’t certain. See below.
Why do you feel God has called you into this position of commissioner?: Compared to the connectedness and networking (we didn’t know the word then) that had occurred as a Synod commissioner in the ’70s and ’80s, I felt that this had changed as the structure and function of synods evolved out of necessity. My own personal experiences did not match what others observed about the value The Synod of the Trinity has to offer to its Presbyteries and churches. Being a part of these transition years has been gratifying. The change in governance offers flexibility to meet the likely change in the structure of middle governing bodies. As the combined wisdom of regional meetings has to offer gets disseminated in meaningful ways to the congregational leadership by way of Presbytery leadership, a sense of community will be fostered. Community within the denomination has been stressed in the recent past and likely will continue. It is my view that any process that aids an awareness as to how we are connected to one other strengthens the body of Christ in our communities of faith.
Any closing remarks?: I am glad to have had this opportunity to serve with such persons of imagination, wisdom and faith.