Transitional Leader: Rev. Rhonda Kruse
The Transitional Leader will guide our body as we explore new ways to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Leader will facilitate opportunities to partner and resources each other; staff a Vision Team who will plan for and guide our worshiping communities into the future of our Presbytery. The Leader will work with the Stated Clerk, Moderator and Administrative Team to efficiently carry out mid-council (Presbytery) business.
Rhonda Kruse has been serving the Presbyterian Mission Agency as the Mission Engagement Advisor for the Midwest since 2016. From 2011-16, she was the Connections and Change Presbyter in the Presbytery of Hudson River and has served congregations in New Jersey, Indiana, and New York. Rhonda and her husband, Gary, have three grown children living on the East Coast, and two cats. Rhonda has a BS from the University of Illinois, and MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an MSW from Rutgers University. She is a sports fan, especially the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. She walks everyday and enjoys “walking meetings.” She is a tea drinker and likes good conversation over a cup of tea.
Stated Clerk: Rev. Beth Utley
The Stated Clerk is elected by Presbytery to a three-year term. The Clerk keeps the minutes and records of Presbytery and Presbytery Council; communicates with other governing bodies; draws up the Docket for Presbytery Meetings; interprets the Book of Order; and helps guide the Presbytery in its work and mission.
Beth Utley grew up in central Arkansas, raised in faith by parents and grandparents. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science in Education, concentrations in Speech, Drama, and English. She received a Masters of Oral Communication from Baylor University and is a Certified Educator in the PC(USA).
Beth knew she wanted to be a teacher almost from birth. Outside a brief temptations from Nancy Drew and midwifery, Beth worked as an educator, first in classrooms (middle school to college), then in Christ’s church. Working in North Carolina as a Director of Christian Formation, she felt called to explore seminary and graduated with her Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, NC. She was awarded the Helen Deans Preaching Award.
She has served congregations for 20+ years, working in partnership with the pastors and congregational leadership to equip disciples for today’s church. She is passionate about discipleship as following Jesus, not believing a set of tenets or a particular dogma. She trained officers in church polity and is a Presbyterian by choice, loving how we structure our lives together.
She has four adult children. Adam is completing work in a PhD in immunology in Buffalo, NY; Allie is working on a PhD in Worship and Liturgy at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN; Hannah is a neonatal ICU nurse in Richmond (where her husband is in seminary); and Claire is in Greensboro where she is working toward a writing career.
Office Manager: Robin Mathias
Moderator: Rev. Stephen T. Emick
The Moderator is elected annually by the Presbytery. The Moderator conducts all meetings of the Presbytery; represents the Presbytery to the religious and secular communities; helps guide the Presbytery in its work and mission; conducts services of Ordination and Installation; and is its highest elected Officer.
The Rev. Stephen T. Emick has been a member of Lehigh Presbytery since January 1995 when he was called to serve the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown as Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults. He currently serves that church as Pastor for Pastoral Care.
Stephen and his wife, Barbara, are originally from Scranton, PA and both are fifth generation Presbyterians (both of their grant, great grandfather’s were founding members of the Hickory Street Presbyterian Church in Scranton where Stephen served as a ruling elder and part-time youth pastor).
Stephen earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marywood University with a major in Radio/Television Communication Arts; a Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (now Union Presbyterian Seminary). Before being called to Allentown, he served as the Associate Pastor for Christian Education at Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA.
Stephen is an Eagle Scout and worked as a radio announcer and professional Scouter before attending seminary. Barbara is a nurse with the Lehigh Valley Physicians Group and they have two daughters – Allison, a graduate of Ursinus College and DeSales University, a registered nurse at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown; and Emily, a senior at Lafayette College majoring in economics and music. Stephen enjoys working in his yard, researching family history, and model railroading.
Vice Moderator: Rev. Christine Kass
The Vice Moderator is also elected annually by the Presbytery. The Vice Moderator assists the Moderator and helps guide the Presbytery in its work and mission.
Christy is the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua in Whitehall. She is a May 2019 graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary with a Master’s Degree in Divinity, a concentration in spiritual formation, and a certificate in biblical studies. Ministry is a second career for Christy, who spend 20-plus years as a newspaper reporter, then editor, both in print and online.
During her time in seminary, Christy spent two years serving as the supply pastor at Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church in Brodheadsville, and spent a better part of a year working as a chaplain intern at Indian Creek Foundation (near Quakertown), a sheltered workshop for adults with disabilities.
Christy and her husband, glass artist Guy Kass, live in Bath, PA.
Chairperson of the Lead Team:
The Chairperson of the Presbytery Lead Team is elected annually from its members. The Chairperson chairs the meeting of the Presbytery Lead Team, and helps guide the Presbytery in its work and mission.
Treasurer: Mr. Nelson Rabenold
The Treasurer is elected by Presbytery to a three-year term, without limitation. The Treasurer monitors the work of the Bookkeeper, provides a monthly overview of Presbytery’s finances for the Board of Trustees, makes recommendations to the Board as appropriate, and serves ex officio with the Finance Committee.
Nelson Rabenold has worked in public accounting for over 40 years. He was self-employed as a CPA in the Lehigh Valley for over 30 years. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown since 1986 and has served as an Elder, Deacon, Trustee (Treasurer), and was an active member of the church’s theatre group, the Presbyteers.
Nelson is married with two grandchildren and one on the way. He enjoys golfing, travel, and bridge.