GA Elects Kennedy Smartt As Moderator, and Honors Don Patterson

St. Louis, Missouri (June 30, 1998)-In its silver anniversary year, the Presbyterian Church in America elected one of its founding fathers as Moderator. The Rev. Dr. Kennedy Smartt, well-known throughout the denomination for his wit and his evangelistic enthusiasm, was elected without opposition.

It was a poignant moment for the churchman, who accepted the nomination only because his long-time friend, Dr. Don Patterson, who would have been nominated, was unable to be at the Assembly. Dr. Patterson, Chairman of the 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee, is in an extremely weakened condition from chemotherapy. Upon the suggestion of Moderator Smartt, and upon motion by Dr. Morton H. Smith, the PCA's initial Stated Clerk, the General Assembly stood in support of a motion to name Dr. Patterson as Honorary Moderator. Later in the day, it was reported that Don Patterson had been taken from his home to the hospital. While very weak, he was conscious, and expressed his gratitude at the honor bestowed on him by the Assembly.

Shortly after his election, Dr. Smartt remarked that this was first time that an assistant pastor had been elected moderator: "So, assistant pastors, unite!" Besides his current position of Assistant Pastor at Chestnut Mountain (GA) Presbyterian Church, he has served as Pastor at two churches in Georgia and, for fifteen years, at West End Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, VA. He has also worked for the denominational Mission to the World and Mission to North America Committees.

A graduate of Davidson College and Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA), Dr. Smartt was awarded an honorary D.D. by the Atlanta School of Biblical Studies in 1993. He is the author of I Am Reminded, an anecdotal history of the PCA.