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. Dr. Michael A. Drake
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.
Mike was born in Greenville, PA (Western Pennsylvania), but spent most of his growing years in Beaver County just north of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Beaver High School, then from Geneva College where he received a B.S. in Music Education. He received his M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and his D.Min. from Hartford Seminary.
He and his wife, Debbie (also from Beaver County) married in 1976 and are the parents of two grown children, Ashley and Andy. Andy is on the staff of the Lehigh County Courts, and the father of two boys, Wyatt and Logan, who are in middle school in the Parkland District. Ashley is currently teaching in the anthropology department at Bucknell University.
Mike began his ordained ministry in 1976 in Elmhurst, Illinois (Chicago Presbytery). In 1979, he and Debbie moved to Larchmont, NY, where their children were born. He served there until being called to the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown in 1994, a position he held until his retirement in September 2017. In each of these settings he served as an associate pastor, believing early on that he was called to this role in multi-staff ministries.
He was active in each of the presbyteries where he was a member. In Lehigh Presbytery, he was a member of the Board of Trustees and the Committee on Ministry.
In retirement, he has enjoyed spending more time with Debbie, working with computers and technology, attending live music events of all types, delving more deeply into the family genealogy, and working on his 1972 Volkswagen.
Administrative Assistant: Robin Mathias
Moderator: Elder William Brugger
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.
Bill was born in Wellsboro Pennsylvania and spent his formative years on a small dairy farm outside Westfield Pennsylvania in Tioga County. He graduated from Cowanesque Valley High School in 1968 and then entered Mansfield State College for his undergraduate degree. Upon receiving his B.A. degree in Chemistry in 1972, he entered the graduate school at The Pennsylvania State University. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry in 1977, he accepted a position at International Flavors and Fragrances, IFF, as a research chemist. During his tenure there, Bill was responsible for numerous computer programs needed by the company including a perfumer’s formula development system.
In 1985, Bill left IFF and started his own company. His first product was the first molecular modeling software program that ran on a personal computer. Unfortunately, this was limited market and in 1989, Bill developed software to assist in the research and development of new flavors and fragrances. He continues to run this business.
Bill is an Elder at the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap as well as being its Clerk of Session. Bill is married, has two children, and three grandchildren.
Vice Moderator: Rev. Nicole Vogel
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.
Service to the church is nothing new to her. Over the course of her life Nicole has served the church in numerous ways. Before she was ordained as a minister, she was an ordained elder. Her service to the church included serving as an elder commissioner to the Presbytery, an elder commissioner to the 223rd General Assembly, a youth group leader, a choir member, a member or chair of various committees in churches, and on the Shared Gifts Committee as well as currently serving on the Committee on Ministry for Lehigh Presbytery.
Her journey into ministry is quite unique. She began with a career in psychology, working as a case manager and social worker. Nicole excelled in developing skills to work with children and adults having mental health issues, as well as caring for the psycho-social needs of elderly patients living in a nursing home.
Nicole decided to take the plunge and attended seminary at Moravian Theological Seminary. This wife and mother of two children, one with special needs, maintained a 4.0 GPA, received academic scholarships, a certificate in Biblical Studies, and was awarded the Moses homiletics and faculty academic awards.
Pastor Nicki, as she is often referred to, is a young vibrant minister that has a deep love for all people and a real heart to serve God. God has given her many gifts for ministry that are evident especially in her genuine positive charisma that can’t help but seep into those she encounters. She looks forward to serving the Presbytery in this new capacity.
Chairperson of the Administrative Board:
The Chairperson of the Presbytery Administrative Board is the past moderator of the Lehigh Presbytery. The Chairperson chairs the meeting of the Administrative Board, 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 three grandchildren. He enjoys golfing, travel, and bridge.