By Sarah Peniston, Communications Coordinator
Recently, I sat down with Rob McClure, who served as president of the MDC Board of Trustees for six years (2008-2013), and now continues with the distinction of “President Emeritus.” Rob’s involvement and knowledge of the program goes back decades. He began working at the Synod of Alaska-Northwest in Stewardship and Communications in 1986 when the MDC program was under the umbrella of the Synod.
When first asked to serve as President of MDC, Rob turned it down! He was approached again later, and agreed to a three-year term, tops. Somehow he ended up serving a total of six years as Board President, and we were all the better for the wisdom and experience that he brought to the table.
SP: How would you describe the MDC program?
RM: It’s pretty simple. It’s the same slogan we’ve had for years, and hasn’t changed: We’re “Presbyterians helping Presbyterians.” This program is the only way to give money (to a church-related organization) and actually make money. It’s a no brainer! The other great thing is that when I first started serving as President, 80% of the churches throughout the Synod had received MDC loans at some point since its founding in 1955. That’s very telling in how broad a scope this program has had on our churches.
SP: Was there a pivotal point in your service as President?
RM: Yes, the separation of the MDC from the Synod in 2008. The board and I felt it was in the best interest of the program to get out from under the umbrella of the Synod to protect the investor’s money. At that time, there was much transition going on in the Synod and their relationship with the Presbyteries was in flux. By 2012, the Synod underwent a dramatically “reduced function” essentially eliminating all but the bare minimum of a functionality at the Synod level.
The greater church, PC (U.S.A.), was also going through some big changes. Many churches were leaving and forming a new branch of the denomination (ECO). The board wanted to make sure the MDC program could continue to serve ECO churches. This was a good move.
I have always been interested in the idea of broadening the program beyond our Presbyterian borders. Let’s explore opportunities for ecumenical partnerships, “members helping other members”.
SP: What effect has the program had on you?
RM: It is good to be a part of it, and stay a part of it! I hope more retired pastors invest in it. It’s like that Buick commercial – When you want to know about how good the car is, ask a person who drives it. I am glad to invest in the program so I can encourage others to do so.
SP: What do you miss about your involvement with the MDC Program?
RM: In some ways it feels like I never left! What I miss the most, though, is the relationships with the churches.