We are a network of Presbyterians from 11 Presbyteries, approx. 800 Congregations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas - over 157,000 members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Synod of the Sun of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A. serves Christ by connecting, equipping, and empowering Presbyterians for Christ's mission within and beyond the Synod's bounds.
Rev. Elizabeth Gabbard is a native of Arkansas and the Synod of the Sun. She has a bachelors in English from Lyon College and a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary. Ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in 2008, she has worked as a solo pastor, college chaplain, and administrator of a non-profit organization. Elizabeth currently serves as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her dog, and cooking for friends..
Coordinating Team Chair 2018
Shelley Hernandez, a Ruling Elder from New Covenant Presbytery, is a newcomer to the Synod and excited as she learns the depth and breadth of the Synod’s Missions, Networks, and support of the Presbyteries within this part of God’s Kingdom. Shelley has served not only in her local Church, primarily as Worship Moderator and Leader, but also within the Presbytery, serving on COM, a recent Vision Task Force, General Council, and most recently as Moderator of the Presbytery for 2016. Shelley works for a small commercial insurance agency and stresses that in order to reach a younger demographic to be involved in Leadership, we must try new ways and new times to have meetings
Rev. Mitch Miller is pastor of Santa Fe Presbyterian Church in Edmond, OK.
Synod Leader & Stated Clerk
Valerie (Knox) Young, Ruling Elder has served the synod in various roles since 2004. Currently, in addition to serving as Stated Clerk, Valerie's primary responsibility is to Connect presbyteries and Presbyterians in mission and ministry; Equip leaders to more fully do their work, and to Empower mission, ministry, and their leaders to live out their call to the glory of God.
Assistant Stated Clerk
Ernest Higginbotham, Ruling Elder Ruling Elder Ernie Higginbotham serves and consults with the Stated Clerk and Synod Coordinating Team in planning, administrative review, and management of the judicial process. He is an attorney with UNT Dallas College of Law having worked previously with Strasburger & Price, Nortel Networks and UnitedLex.
Communication & Administrative Coordinator
Thomas Riggs joined the synod staff in February 2018 from First Presbyterian Church in Grapevine, Texas, where he served as Director of Communications and Director of Youth Ministries. Tom is a 30+ year veteran of church work in the Lutheran, Episcopal and Presbyterian churches. Tom has served at Camp Gilmont, Mo Ranch and various Presbyterian youth events. He also served as an Administrative Assistant at Grace Presbytery.
CONNECTING - EQUIPPING - EMPOWERING