‘We engage in the work of stewardship with generosity, joy and hope’
May 20, 2023
In what he described as “a welcome convergence of my vocational journey as well as my personal and family journey,” the Rev. Dr. John Wilkinson began work as the director of the Ministry Engagement and Support team on May 8.
“John brings a deep experience in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and many strong connections throughout the church to this position,” observed A Corporation President Kathy Lueckert. “His knowledge of how the church works from the congregational level to the General Assembly level will prove invaluable in this ministry.”
Wilkinson also brings a theological and pastoral understanding of stewardship and funds development to his work. “We are all formed to be stewards,” he says, “and we engage in the work of stewardship with generosity, joy and hope.”
Key to Wilkinson’s theology are the stories of Jesus feeding crowds, particularly the version found in John 6:1–14. As the Gospel writer tells the story, an unnamed child gives from their resources to help feed a hungry crowd. Wilkinson observes that “Jesus, foreshadowing the last meal he would share with his friends, takes that child’s gift and makes manifest God’s abundance. And … there were leftovers. Enough, and more than enough!” For Wilkinson, this story teaches us that “we rely on God’s grace, and we also exercise our own agency in living into that vision of abundance.”
As the director of Ministry Engagement and Support, Wilkinson is helping Presbyterians live into God’s abundance. “I love the Presbyterian Church,” he said. “I have been formed by it and remain committed to it. I believe it has a vital future, by God’s grace. The church can make a difference in the lives of its members and engage in transformative work beyond its walls. Making connections, telling our stories, supporting Presbyterians doing this important work — all will be a privilege for me.”
Wilkinson looks forward to building strong relationships with the talented and committed members of the Ministry Engagement and Support team. He envisions the team working together to build on and expand connections with church leaders in congregations and mid councils and to invite generous financial support across the church. The team will help Presbyterians collectively and individually “claim the calling of steward in new and sustainable ways for the 21st century church,” Wilkinson says. He adds: “They will work to lift up our ministry and mission and tell the story, tell the story, tell the story with joy and hope.”
Wilkinson has served the church in various capacities. He was a pastor in congregations in Chicago; Rochester, New York; and Philadelphia, as well as an active member of presbyteries. He served on two seminary boards and helped establish the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and NEXT Church. Wilkinson has been a member and moderator of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and was a member of the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church.
Wilkinson’s breadth of experience across the church is consistent with the work of the Ministry Engagement and Support team. The 225th General Assembly (2022) approved a recommendation from the Moving Forward Implementation Special Committee to move the “Mission Engagement and Support” (as it was known at the time) team to the Administrative Service Group within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. This action sought to ensure “a unified funds development approach that will yield financial resources to support both the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency.” To reflect this role, the team took on the new name, Ministry Engagement and Support, in January.
“John’s passion and excitement for this ministry came across clearly in the interview process,” notes Lueckert. “I look forward to John’s work with the Ministry Engagement and Support team. Together, I am confident that they will find effective ways to engage Presbyterians in supporting mission in a post-Covid world so that the ministries of our client partners flourish.”
Wilkinson works from his home in Rochester.
Mark Koenig, Internal Communications Specialist, Administrative Services Group
Today’s Focus: Rev. Dr. John Wilkinson
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
God of grace, we pray that we might be your hands and feet and voice to people who are seeking you. Guide us by our Holy Spirit to create spaces of grace for those you have claimed as your own. Amen.
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