New Board Directors | Presbyterian Historical Society

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New Board Directors

December 19, 2016
PHS Board Directors attending November 2016 meeting in Philadelphia, with PC(USA) Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson and PHS Executive Director Beth Hessel.

The staff of PHS enjoyed getting to know our four new Board Directors during our November meeting: Cathy Criss Adams, Jay Darling, Margaret Elliott and Peter Whitelock. Each brings to the Society an impressive array of experiences and insights that are already helping us serve Presbyterians, congregations, mid councils, and general researchers.


Cathy Criss Adams of Birmingham, Alabama, is a member of Independent Presbyterian Church. An acclaimed author and journalist, Cathy holds a B.A. in English and Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the University of Mississippi. She is the co-author of the history of her congregation, published in 2014—an item that was added to the PHS collections earlier this year.

Cathy serves numerous associations and organizations in her local community, including the Redmont Neighborhood Association, Birmingham Landmarks, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Historical Commission, Junior League of Birmingham, and Progress Study Club. She is a founding board member of the Birmingham Jefferson History Museum.

Gerald E. “Jay” Darling of Moorestown, New Jersey, is a partner at the law firm of Archer & Greiner, where he is a trusts and estates attorney. Jay holds a B.S. from Commerce Rider College, a J.D. from Delaware Law School, and an L.L.M. in Taxation from Temple Law School; he recently completed his Master of Theological Studies at the Palmer Seminary of Eastern University.

Jay is a board member and General Counsel to Urban Promise and a Ruling Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown. He was a founding board member of Friends of MEND, an organization devoted to raising funds for “MEND”—a provider of housing for low-income individuals and families in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Margaret P. Elliott of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a member of the PC(USA) Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA), which is authorized to carry out the Assembly’s oversight of the Stated Clerk and the Office of the General Assembly. Margaret is COGA’s designated representative to the PHS Board.

Margaret is the Executive Director of Crisis Control Ministry, Inc., in Winston-Salem, where she has worked since 1999. She is also the Clerk of Session and a Ruling Elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church, as well as a member of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

Peter Whitelock of Lafayette, California, grew up in San Diego, where his family was actively involved at First Presbyterian Church. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in History. Seminary training took him to Fuller Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity, and then to Princeton Theological Seminary for a Master of Theology in Hermeneutics. Peter has also completed a Doctor of Ministry in vision-based board leadership at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Peter has served as Associate Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and as Head of Staff at Ojai Presbyterian Church in Ojai, California. In 1999 he was called to his current pastorate at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco Bay area. He serves there as Head of Staff. 


The only sad note from our November Board meeting was the absence of PHS friends, including five directors who recently rotated off the board—Betty Bergstrom, Ginny Rainey, Lisa Small, Paul Watermulder, and Louis Weeks. Samantha Piccolo, our previous Director of Development and Communications, began a new position at the Trust for Public Land in October. The current staff, board, and volunteers of the Presbyterian Historical Society would like to thank these leaders for their years of dedicated guidance, encouragement, and inspiration. We wish them all a wonderful Christmas season and look forward to keeping in touch in 2017.