Ruth Faith Santana-Grace

The Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace began serving as Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia in February 2014, making her the first woman and person of color to be installed in their more than 300-year history. 

Since joining Philadelphia, Santana-Grace has been committed to reinvesting resources back into the local congregation — using proceeds from church closures or tragedies to replant, reinvest or revitalize transformative possibilities in communities faithfully leaning into this moment in time. Soon after arriving, Santana-Grace launched the Ministry and Leadership Incubator — the umbrella equipping arm of the presbytery focused on strengthening congregational leaders and their ministries. She brings a deep conviction that God is creatively at work in our midst. 

In June 2022, Santana-Grace was elected by the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA as Co-moderator for a term of two years.  With the theological framing of “Unbounded We Thrive”, she and her sister co-moderator (The Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis) have embarked on their ambassadorial roles sharing their hope for the witness of the church.  Also in service to the broader church, she serves on the board of The Presbyterian Foundation and recently completed her term serving on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary. 

Prior to pursuing ordained ministry as Minister of Word and Sacrament, Santana-Grace received a Masters in Public Administration and used her gifts as a “bridge builder” for more than 15 years — serving in Washington, D.C., and Rome, Italy. During this season of her life, she brought 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, employment, and economic development. 

After graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1994, she served as Associate Pastor for Adult Discipleship at First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she connected the teachings of Jesus to the challenges and realities of daily life. In 2005, her call to ministry would pivot as she embarked on a new kind of bridge-building, serving as Executive Presbyter of San Gabriel Presbytery in Southern California. She had the privilege of walking alongside 44 churches officially worshiping in 11 languages in the eastern-most region of Los Angeles County.   

A lover of writing, Santana-Grace is the author of “Spirit Soundings” — regular reflections sent out to the presbytery. She was one of the featured women in Princeton’s published book “Faith of our Mothers, Living Still: Princeton Seminary Women Redefining Ministry.” She has also authored articles for commentaries and is an invited preacher and speaker to conferences and retreats. When Santana-Grace is not working, she can be found swimming in her pool or walking the beach — a spiritual discipline that has sustained her for more than a decade. 

She is married to the Rev. Dr. Edward Santana-Grace and they are parents to two sons — Dakota, who works for an international management consulting firm, and David, who works in the fitness industry in Italy. They are grandparents to Mia, 11, and Sophia, 7, who live in Virginia with their mom, Lani; and Talia, 9 months, who lives in Italy with her parents, David and Benedetta. 

This is my Story 
2023 Distinguished Alumni Awardee 
Monday, May 15, 3:15 p.m. 
Stuart Hall 6

Luncheon and Award Presentation 
Tuesday, May 16, 12:30 p.m. 
Mackay Campus Center Dining Hall