Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), died Dec. 12 after a nearly yearlong battle with cancer and six months after she completed her term.
A ruling elder in the PC(USA) and a lawyer with BNA, Inc., Bolbach was elected Moderator on the fourth ballot as the only ruling elder in a field of six candidates in July 2010.
Louisville Seminary alum Landon Whitsitt (MDiv ’05), who served as Vice-Moderator with Bolbach, said at his installation that he felt called to stand with Bolbach when he realized that his hopes for the church matched hers.
Whitsitt, who now serves as the Executive and Stated Clerk of the Synod of Mid-America, offered this prayer for Bolbach on Facebook:
by your creative power you gave us life,
and in your redeeming love you have given us new life in Christ.
We commend our sister, Cynthia Bolbach, to your merciful care
in the faith of Christ our Lord
who died and rose again to save us,
and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Goodbye, Madame Moderator."
Bolbach, who visited Louisville Seminary in 2011 as the keynote speaker for the annual Festival of Theology and Reunion Moderator’s Dinner, was born and raised in Lancaster County, PA, where she was baptized and confirmed as a Lutheran. She became a Presbyterian when she joined New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., where she was ordained as a deacon and elder and served as clerk of session. After moving to Arlington, VA, in the mid-1980s, Bolbach transferred her membership to First Presbyterian Church, where she was also elected as clerk of session. At the General Assembly level, Bolbach most recently served as co-moderator of the Form of Government Task Force (2006-2010).
A graduate of Wittenberg University (Ohio) and Georgetown University Law Center, Bolbach served as Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary of BNA, Inc., formerly the oldest company in the United States owned entirely by its more than 1,600 employees prior to its acquisition last year by Bloomberg.
Bolbach was diagnosed with cancer in February 2012 following abdominal surgery. Arrangements will be announced at a later date.