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Karen Horst named sole nominee for moderator: General Assembly begins June 4 in Vancouver.

On April 1 votes from presbyteries were tallied and Rev. Karen Horst was named sole nominee for moderator of the 2015 General Assembly.

"There were such great candidates on the slate; so I think it was a challenging year for decision making because so many people are so gifted, and gifted in different ways," she said shortly after the announcement. "I think feeling humbled is the overwhelming experience right now. And excited as well in terms of the possibilities for the future of the church."

Horst serves as minister at St. Andrew's, Orillia, Ont. She has been a part of many national committees including Presbyterian World Service & Development, International Affairs, and the Life and Mission Agency. She has also penned an assortment of Christian education materials and worked on design teams for national and international events.

Having come to the ministry of word and sacraments from diaconal ministry. Horst said she has a great passion for specialized ministries in the church and hopes to raise up the importance of those ministries and ministers during her year as moderator.

"I'm actually quite hopeful for the church," she told the Record. "I know there's lots of conversation about decline and I think the church is going through a transition, no doubt about that. But I think sometimes God has a way of working through that revisioning and reshaping."

This year's General Assembly will deal with several overtures from lower courts asking for the denomination to change its traditional stance on human sexuality.

When it comes to controversy, Horst said, the key is to "be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit."

"People are quite anxious but I think we have all kinds of evidence of how God has spoken through the church and the collective and corporate voice in previous difficult challenges and I think that will be true for this one as well," she said. "The critical piece will be that we're respectful of one another, that we carefully listen to one another to understand why people conclude what they do, and understand that we all have a great love and passion for the Bible. But sometimes these issues boil down to challenges in hermeneutics as much as they do to ethics. So I think as long as we're able to come depending on God rather than just on our own opinions, then I think God will help us to navigate all that."

Horst will be the fifth woman to moderate a General Assembly, and the second person in her immediate family to do so. Her husband. Rick Horst, moderated the 2011 Assembly.

"I'm sure people will get lots of mileage out of that." she said with a laugh.

Horst is expected to be installed on June 4 when General Assembly convenes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

By Connie Wardle

Connie Wardle is the Record's senior writer.

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Author:Wardle, Connie
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2015
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