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: Ruling Elder, Deborah Prince
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.
Deborah Prince was born in Illinois and grew up in western Pennsylvania. She graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio. From there she earned a PHD in mathematics from the University of Kansas and married Richard Prince, a fellow Wooster and KU math graduate. They moved to Stroudsburg in 1971 when dick, who did in 2004, joined the faculty at East Stroudsburg. Almost immediately they joined the East Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church. Deborah joined the faculty in 1981 and retired in 2009.
In 2016 she moved to Kirkland Village in Bethlehem. She enjoys traveling and visiting her daughter and granddaughter in Los Angeles and her son, daughter-in-law, and infant grandson who now live in Colorado.
Deborah grew up in the Mount Lebanon United Presbyterian Church where her father was the Minister of Music. She has been active in church since the day she was born and recognizes with gratitude and Thanksgiving the many blessings she has received through the Grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.
She has served Lehigh Presbytery on the Board of Trustees, various special committees and the Permanent Judicial Commission. She is currently serving on the Expecting Hope Committee
Vice Moderator: Rev. Stephen Emick
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.
The Rev. Stephen Emick has been a member of Lehigh Presbytery since January 1995 when he was called to serve the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults. He currently serves that church as the Pastor for Faith Formation and Discipleship.
Stephen and his wife, Barbara, are originally from Scranton, PA and both are fifth generation Presbyterians (both of their great, great-grandfathers’ 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 major in Radio/Television Communications 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 of 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 Lehigh Valley Physicians Group and they have two daughters; Allison, a graduate of Ursinus College currently enrolled in the accelerated BSN degree program at DeSales University, and Emily, a junior at Lafayette College majoring in economics and music. Stephen enjoys working in his yard, researching family history, and model railroading.
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.