Today we held our last staff meeting with Rev. John V. “Jack” Carlson, because tomorrow is his last official day with us at the Presbytery. As State Clerk, Jack’s relentless dedication and support have been invaluable to everyone, and we are grateful for the depth of knowledge and generosity of spirit he has brought to the role these past three years.
Rev. Mary Gaut reflects, “In the summer of 2017, when there were some rumors that the Stated Clerk nominating committee might be having some difficulty in identifying a candidate to replace retiring stated clerk Catherine Blacka, Jack and I decided to apply as a team, proposing to function essentially as co-clerks dividing the duties pretty much equally. This model had never been tried before but the Presbytery approved and we held our breath and jumped into the work. Jack assumed some of the more public aspects of the job including the title of Stated Clerk and set a high bar for commitment and excellence. Among the things Jack should always be remembered for is leading the Presbytery into the virtual meeting world. His attention to detail and insistence that meticulous preparation was the key helped put Baltimore Presbytery on the map as a leader in how to hold virtual presbytery meetings. But above all Jack has been a valued colleague in this work and will be greatly missed.”
Jack served for 13 years as Pastor at Highland Presbyterian Church, in Harford County, after serving churches in Lockport, NY, and Hyattsville, MD. He was a pastoral counselor for more than 20 years in the Washington DC area, and retired from active ministry in the PCUSA in January of 2016. After serving a term as Moderator of the Presbytery of Baltimore, in September of 2017 he was elected Stated Clerk of the Presbytery.
Jack has published three books: The Spiritual Dimensions of Self-Esteem, The Spiritual Power of Communication, and The Disciple’s Song, a poetic rendering of the Gospel of Mark. Jack is married to Lynn McCormick Carlson and has three grown children and three grandchildren.
Jack’s brilliance and guidance have always inspired people to do better. He was not just a stated clerk to us, but a mentor and a friend. His presence will be missed, but we wish him all the best as he embarks on a well-earned retirement that will surely include golfing, traveling, oil painting, and enjoying time with his grandchildren.