For 27 years, Bob Smylie represented the United Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and its successor the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the United Nations community. He served in several places in our structure; he held a variety of titles.
When the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) moved to Louisville in 1987, Bob remained behind to create the Presbyterian United Nations Office. Bob served Christ, served the church, served the people with profound intelligence, creative imagination, steadfast love, and deep integrity.
I met Bob in 1990 at a Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in 1990. We worked on several projects through the years. He was an incredible resource and a great colleague.
I joined the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program staff in 2002. My first meeting with the staff was Bob’s last meeting. We talked now and then over the years.
Then, in 2010, I answered a call to serve as the director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. The name has changed. The mission has adapted to a new time. But we stand in the tradition started by Bob.
Last fall, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board honored Bob by naming him the Director Emeritus of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. A truly fitting honor.
The opportunity to thank Bob and to acknowledge my debt to him was a true blessing. It is a unique moment when we can to express our gratitude to those who have gone before and paved the way for our work, our ministry.
Thank you Bob.
And Jennifer, Joel, Jessica, and all who have served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the UN community before me. Thank you Ryan and Ricky who serve with me now. Thank you Sara and Toni and Gary and all who have worked to keep the ministry vibrant and alive. Thank you all who have made financial gifts to support the ministry. Thank you Matt and Linda and Roger and the leaders and members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board who voted to name Bob as Director Emeritus. Thank you Marianne and Greg and Dave and Bruce and the members of the Presbytery of the Palisades who arranged for the presbytery’s act of recognition.
See you along the Trail.