Staff

 

Executive and Stated Clerk

Rev. Landon Whitsitt (landon@synodma.org) joined the SoMA as its Executive and Stated Clerk in 2011.

He is graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and before entering the pastorate was a member of Session at First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, KS, served in campus ministry, and was the music director for a new church development.  He was ordained as the Program Director for The Center for Interfaith Relations in Louisville, KY before accepting a call to First Presbyterian Church in Liberty, MO (Heartland Presbytery).

From 2008 to 2012, Landon served on the PCUSA Committee on Theological Education, and in July 2010, he was confirmed as Vice-Moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the PCUSA for a two year term. From 2012-2014, he was a member of the General Assembly's Mid Council Commission, and currently serves on the board of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

As Stated Clerk, Landon assists the Synod Assembly and its Committees with their work, plans for Assembly meetings, records the actions of the Assembly, sends any and all official communications, and staff and resources the SoMA Permanent Judicial Commission.

In his role as Executive, Landon is responsible for shaping and monitoring the strategic direction of the SoMA as a whole, and managing the staff. Programmatically,  the most visible part of Landon's work is Theocademy, but he is also the contact point with our ecumenical partners, our covenant partners, and the national denominational structures and other synods. 

Contact Landon if you have any questions regarding the polity and governance of the SoMA, broad regional programming, covenant partners, or the SoMA's strategic direction.

 

Associate Executive for Presbytery Support

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Rev. James Gale (james@synodma.org) joined the SoMA staff in February of 2013.

James is a Graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 2004. In addition to pastorates at Rivermont Presbyterian Church in Kinston, NC (New Hope Presbytery) and Shawnee Presbyterian Church in Shawnee, KS (Heartland Presbytery), he has served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as a member of New Church Development, Evangelism, and Stewardship (as chair) committees in the New Hope and Heartland Presbyteries, and has been a faithful and instrumental member of the Church Development Corporation's Board of Directors since 2010.
 
In his role as Associate Executive for Presbytery Support, James is the most common SoMA face you will see at presbytery meetings, and it is James who arranges the regular gatherings of Presbytery Executives. He staffs presbytery search committees, and has primary responsibility for the planning and implementation of both Gathering for Pastoral Sustenance and Selah.

Contact James if you have questions regarding the support our presbyteries receive from SoMA, GPS, or Selah.

 

Associate Stated Clerk

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Rev. Brian Ellison (brian@synodma.org) has served the SoMA as Associate Stated Clerk on a part time basis since February 2015. In his day-to-day life Brian is the Executive Director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and a host/contributor at NPR affiliate KCUR-FM.

Brian is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 1999. He was installed as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years, and actively served the General Assembly as a director of the Board of Pensions, a member of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, and as moderator of both the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment and the Stated Clerk Review/Nomination Committee. He has also served as Stated Clerk and as moderator of the Committee on Ministry, Committee on Preparation for Ministry and the Permanent Judicial Commission in Heartland Presbytery.

Contact Brian if you have questions regarding Synod Assembly meeting preperation, minutes and records, or inquiries concernign the synod permanent judicial commission.

 

2016-2018 Swanigan Fellow

Salvador Gavaldá (salvador@synodma.org) joined the SoMA staff as our first Swanigan Fellow in August 2016.

Salvador is a native of Puerto Rico and member of the Iglesia Presbiteriana in Caparra Terrace. He has a B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras. Befor joining the SoMA as a fellow, Salvador had served as a contract professor in various of the campuses of the UPR system.

Salvador served as a member of the 'Comité del Futuro', a committee tasked with proposing new structure and priorities for the Synod of Puerto Rico. He later served as Moderator of the Synod of Puerto Rico and presided the Mission Counci, as well as serving as the Youth Counselor for the Synod youth. In the past few years he has served as a member of the Board of Director's for the Ciudad del Retiro, Inc., an independent living elderly home related to the Council of Churches in Puerto Rico.

In addition to supporting the general work of the SoMA, Salvador serves as Co-Producer/Co-Director of the upcoming Theocademy series, Teocademia, the SoMA's full, Spanish-language reproduction of educational videos for PCUSA new members, ruling elders, and deacons.