Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC)
Called to be “... doers of the word and not merely hearers ...” (James 1:22a)
ACREC maintains a strong prophetic witness to the church as an advocate for people of color, monitoring existing and emerging issues in the church and society as they impact our constituent communities. Issues include, but are not limited to, civil rights, racial justice, economic justice, public education, law enforcement, health care, employment, housing, immigration rights and environmental justice.
The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) is a prophetic voice which serves to hold the PC(USA) to the commitments it has made to inclusiveness with equity in all areas of the life and work of the church in society.
ACREC is responsible for involving racial ethnic people in the formation of public policy, particularly where race is a factor that negatively impacts the quality of life of people of color. The committee also monitors the implementation of policies adopted by the church that impact the quality of life of racial ethnic people in the church and in the world. (See: Organization for Mission, VI.1)
ACREC advocates for full access with equity for all racial-ethnic/immigrant groups to all programs, ministries, middle governing bodies and congregations in the Presbyterian Church, monitoring decisions and issues that impact all, but most directly, the lives of racial ethnic people in the church.
The 205th General Assembly (1993) approved the creation of the Advocacy Committee for racial Ethnic Concerns.
While restructuring since 1994 has moved the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns out of Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/ Presbyterian Women and into the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Office, the responsibility of the committee to advocate for and monitor racial justice in the PCUSA remains the same. Their staff now reports to the Racial Ethnic Leadership Development Manager, who reports directly to the Executive Director.
According to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations:
The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns shall have direct access to the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. In accordance with the recommendation of the 220th General Assembly (2012), the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board shall meet at least once every two years with the elected leadership of the advocacy committees for strategic reflection and anticipation concerning racial ethnic concerns.
Access to the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board shall be in the form of policy statements, resolutions, study papers, racial involvement reports, a yearly narrative report, Advice and Counsel Memoranda, and other appropriate correspondence. Advice and Counsel Memoranda shall be developed in consultation with other advisory and advocacy committees as appropriate.
The committee shall submit its General Assembly report to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee for review and possible comments by the Presbyterian Mission Agency (Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations Appendix 1F, I.B.3).
The functions of the committee are twofold: advocacy and monitoring.
Through advocacy, the committee continually evaluates shifting social trends in church and society and provides Advice and Counsel to the General Assembly and Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in response to their request or on its own initiative. The chairperson of ACREC is a corresponding member of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Mission Council.
The committee also monitors the implementation of programs and policies on racial justice. These responsibilities are fulfilled in consultation with other agencies and committees, including the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC), the Women of Color Joint Working Group, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and the National Caucuses and Councils representing people of color and new immigrants.
In order to effectively advocate and monitor, ACREC:
- Reports directly to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and the General Assembly, where it participates with voice, but not vote.
- Meets three times annually.
- Provides an orientation session for commissioners to General Assembly.
- Participates in the preparation of policy statements, resolutions, recommendations, and reports to the General Assembly and Advice and Counsel Memoranda on issues of interest and concern to people of color.
- May respond to particular issues at the request of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, or on its own initiative.
- Works with the Stated Clerk, the Moderator of the General Assembly and the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency to provide information and assistance as they fulfill their responsibilities to communicate and interpret General Assembly policies on issues that impact people of color.
- Assists the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy to maintain an up-to-date and accurate compilation of General Assembly policy on racial justice concerns and provide information to the church as requested.
- Works with the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns to help the church maintain a strong prophetic witness for social justice.
ACREC consists of twelve elected members:
- Two from each of the following constituencies (of which one shall be from the recognized caucusof that constituency):
- African Americans
- Asian Americans
- Latino/a Americans
- Native Americans
- Middle Eastern Americans
- One member at-large
- One Presbyterian Mission Agency Board member
- Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
- Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns
- General Assembly Nominating Committee
- Mission Responsibility Through Investment
- National Asian Presbyterian Council
- National Black Presbyterian Caucus
- National Hispanic/Latino Presbyterian Caucus
- National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus
- Native American Consulting Committee