Presa, who continues to serve as pastor at Middlesex Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth Presbytery (NJ), began his trip at the Chicago Presbytery assembly on Saturday, 20 April. The Moderator then went on to preach at Rogers Park Presbyterian Church and attend a town hall meeting Sunday, as well as preside over communion at Fourth Presbyterian Church’s 4:00 p.m. Jazz Service, followed by an Ecumenical & Interreligious Work Group.
Presa visited McCormick Theological Seminary on Monday, April 22, 2013, for an afternoon with current students, faculty, staff, trustee, Margaret Hart, and President Frank Yamada. The Moderator shared a meal with those gathered, gave a short presentation to the students, and allowed time for questions.
Students in attendance asked questions about church planting, divisions among the denomination, and healthy steps for moving into the new spectrum of church experience that awaits seminarians in a few years. Moderator Presa responded with receptiveness and promised to follow up on some of the issues raised by students.
The Moderator spoke of the future of the PC(USA) using a metaphor from his Filipino background, stressing the importance of creating a table of feasting over the practice of mundane eating or formulaic dining. Presa told the inspiring story of a recent interaction with the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Cuba, a mission partner to the PC(USA) and to some churches in the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians. He spoke of how this church, after discussing its connection to both branches, pledged to be a link between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and ECO for the sake of mission. The community was happy to have him at McCormick to represent the larger church.
Presa, who was elected in June of 2012, is about to begin his second year as Moderator to the General Assembly of the PC(USA). He encouraged those gathered to follow up with him through his website at http://www.nealpresa.com/ or on Twitter (@nealpresa).