Nikki Collins to take initiative’s leadership following retirement of Vera White
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Nikki Collins has been named the new coordinator for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities (NWC) initiative in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
In announcing Collins’ hiring, Ray Jones, the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s (PMA) acting director for Theology, Formation and Evangelism, said that while “it’s difficult to say goodbye to the retiring Vera White,” there is also a sense of excitement.
“Like Vera, Nikki has years of experience serving the church at both the presbytery level and also as a new worshiping community leader,” he said. “In our final day of interviews and discernment together with Nikki and 1001 staff we felt the Holy Spirit leading us, confirming that we were on the right path.”
Collins currently is serving as stated clerk and mission coordinator for Cherokee Presbytery. Before that, she founded Bare Bulb coffee, a new worshiping community in Georgia. While she loves what she’s doing for the Presbytery, Collins is humbled and excited to lead the 1001 initiative, in which she’s been involved since its inception.
“I’m hopeful that our new worshiping community leaders will become more and more a part of our Presbyterian DNA,” she said.
Collins’ experience as a leader at both the presbytery and NWC level will help her be a bridge and interpreter for new worshiping community projects that are being developed around the country. She hopes to give additional shape, color and character to the 1001 movement in ways that will help the PC(USA) more fully embrace and learn from the new worshiping communities being created.
“We have this opportunity and challenge to see how the Spirit is leading us through this time of change,” she said. “The question is, ‘Will we receive it?’”
At one point during the final interview process, Collins thought, “You know, you really don’t need to do this.” But as she kept listening and heard from people what it felt like to work for the PC(USA) in Louisville, she felt a sense of trust coming over her.
“Every single person I spoke to talked about their love for their job and the church,” she said. “How they felt called and honored to do the work of Presbyterian mission, even in the midst of change.”
That’s when Collins knew she wanted to say yes to the 1001 movement and to people she trusted.
Collins will begin her work on June 4in Louisville to spend a week with the retiring Vera White.
“I’m learning in detail what has grown in the past few years in the movement,” she said. “The structure has been laid. Our staff is now fully developed.”
“I’m grateful to Vera for her work and to be joining the PMA staff as 1001 worshiping coordinator at this time.”