Prior to being installed as the first woman in its 300 year history at the May 20, 2014 meeting of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, The Rev. Ruth F. Santana-Grace began serving as Executive Presbyter on February 1, 2014.
The Presbytery of Philadelphia is the first and oldest presbytery in the nation of the Presbyterian Church, USA. It now serves some 130 communities of faith with more than 30,000 members.
Before pursuing ordained ministry as Minister of Word and Sacrament, Ruth received a Masters in Public Administration and used her gifts as a “bridge builder” for more than 15 years—serving in Washington, DC and Rome, Italy. During this season of her life, she brought together council members, mayors, governors and other state and municipal leaders together with their counterparts in Europe to discuss issues of mutual concern such as education and the economy.
In 1994, after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary, she was called to serve on the staff of First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem, PA where she was Associate Pastor for Adult Discipleship. This provided Ruth with the opportunity to help men and women grow in their faith in ways that would be relevant and reflective in their daily lives. In 2005, she embarked on a new kind of bridge-building, serving as Executive Presbyter of San Gabriel Presbytery in Southern California. She would have the privilege of working with 44 churches officially worshipping in eleven languages in the eastern-most region of Los Angeles County.
Ruth has been described as linguistically tri-lingual (speaking English, Spanish and Italian) and theologically bi-lingual. She comes with a deep commitment to bringing people together of different cultures and theological perspectives. She is currently serving the larger church on two national boards: Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary and member of the Board of Trustees of The Presbyterian Foundation.
She is married to the Rev. Dr. Edward Santana-Grace and they are parents to two children—Dakota (a 21 year-old third year student at Harvard College) and David, who lives with his family in Italy.