Moderator of the 141st General Assembly

The Rev. Karen Horst, (Dip. C.E., B.A., M.R.E., M.Div.)

Karen Horst began working as a diaconal minister as a Regional Educational Consultant resourcing congregations and developing leaders. As minister of Word and Sacraments, she has served different-sized congregations including as an interim minister. Currently, she is minister of St. Andrew’s, Orillia.

She has served on many national committees such as Life and Mission Agency Committee, Board of Congregational Life, International Affairs Committee, Committee on Education and Reception and Think Tank Team. She was the convener of PWS&D for six years and has led many monitoring and exposure tours to various parts of the world. She has served on design teams for Triennium and at guidance conferences for ministerial discernment. Karen has represented our denomination in church school curriculum design and has written countless study-guides and courses for all ages including Canada Youth, the Elders’ Institute, Knox College and a consortium of North American denominations. She has been a keynote speaker at women’s conferences, presbyteries and youth events. She has mentored a number of seminary students.

Her passions are her family, especially her four granddaughters, international development, leading conferences, and assisting congregations in strategic planning and conflict resolution. Her sense of humour has been a great asset. She enjoys the family motorcycle with her husband and her congregation’s motorcycle gang called the “Holy Rollers”.

Ballot for Moderator of the 2016 General Assembly

The Rev. Douglas H. Rollwage will be placed as Sole Nominee for Moderator of the 2016 General Assembly. Read more here.

Previous Moderators

Stephen Farris

Moderator of the 140th General Assembly

The Rev. Dr. Stephen C. Farris (B.A., D.Min., Th.M., Ph.D.)

Stephen Farris has been for the past ten years the Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall, the Presbyterian theological college at University of British Columbia, and the Professor of Homiletics (Preaching) with Vancouver School of Theology. For seventeen years previously, he was Professor of Preaching and Worship at Knox College, Toronto. His present passion is developing and leading a new style of educating effective leaders of the coming church. Under his leadership, St. Andrew’s Hall has greatly expanded the Elders’ Institute for encouraging excellence in our elders and lay leaders and materially increased the number of students graduating for ordained ministry. Earlier, while minister of Trinity Church, Amherstview, Ontario, the congregation grew and became self-supporting. That time as a congregational minister instilled a love of local churches. Stephen has served as interim moderator for twelve congregations and was moderator of the Presbytery of Pickering. He continues to preach regularly in congregations across Canada.

Stephen was raised in a very Presbyterian home, the son of the Rev. Dr. Allan and Muriel Farris, and came to his own faith as a teen at the Scott Mission camp. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, and Cambridge University (Ph.D.). He has spoken widely in Canada and internationally, and has written books and articles aimed at helping ministers and elders understand and preach the Word of God more effectively.

Stephen has served on many local, national and international bodies including the Board of the Scott Mission and the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He helped negotiate the repudiation of apartheid by the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. He is a former president of the international Academy of Homiletics.

Stephen is married to Patricia, a school principal, and has two sons, Allan (a minister in Sarnia, Ontario) and Daniel, and two wonderful grandchildren.

Rev. Dr. David SutherlandModerator of the 139th General Assembly


Since 1999, The Rev. Dr. David Sutherland has served as minister of St. Andrew’s Church (The Kirk) in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland. He also has also served congregations in Central Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. He has been on the national church’s Assembly Council and the Assembly Council’s Audit Committee. He is currently part of the General Assembly Nominating Committee.

Dr. Sutherland has served the Synod of the Atlantic Provinces as moderator, treasurer, a member of Synod Council, a member of the Camp Geddie Committee, and is now the clerk of Synod. He has served the Presbytery of Newfoundland as clerk and is the current treasurer, the Presbytery of Cape Breton as Camp convener, and the Presbytery of Halifax and Lunenburg as moderator and convener of the Ministry Committee.

Dr. Sutherland and Irma began their married life in the outreach ministry of Scott Mission while he studied at Knox College. They have two children, The Rev. A.D. (Sandy) Sutherland (married to Marly) and Shelagh Walsh (married to Andrew) and four grandchildren. David Sutherland is an avid outdoor enthusiast.

Read the articles in the Presbyterian Record written by the Moderator here


One Comment

  1. Evelyn Witmer

    Congratulations, we were cheering you on. We look forward to hearing about your adventures this year. We are Members of Calvin Kitchener.

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