In Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, we engage the Church in its mission to become more diverse and inclusive of racial, ethnic, cultural and language groups, and we equip women for leadership in all ministries of the Church. We are blessed to see a vision of Pentecost every day. There are Presbyterian Mission Agency offices supporting African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino-a, Korean, Middle Eastern, Native American and African Intercultural ministries. The people of color and new immigrant worshiping communities that we support regularly gather together, constructing a people of color identity that stems from a common history, heritage and language. We work closely with people of color and new immigrant worshiping communities through mid councils, caucus groups, and networks, engaging in the mission to grow, transform, empower, lead and develop communities. We create an awareness of institutional racism in the church and an environment where people of color, new immigrants, and women can serve fully in ministry and leadership.
In our ministries we work to achieve gender and racial justice and equip people of color and young adults for leadership. We assist college-age and young women of color in their faith journeys and foster networks of support for them.
As we discover how to share the gospel in an increasingly diverse culture, we have a greater chance of living out the Biblical vision of a world where the humanity of everyone is valued and where God’s love is spread to every race, class, culture and people.
DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE — December 2018
Multilingual Cultures of the PC(USA)
“Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
— Luke 2:4-7 (NRSV)
“Wise ones, shepherds and those from different lands came to pay homage to the child” — By Rhashell D. Hunter
At Christmastime, we hear about how Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in a stable, with animals, hay, manure and straw all around. This poor couple couldn’t even find a room in an inn. The only crib available was a trough, where the animals fed.
First, Mary and Joseph traveled from Galilee to Bethlehem. Then Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fled to Egypt. Later, they went to Galilee. And when Jesus grew up, he continued to travel from place to place, preaching good news that the kingdom of heaven is near.
There are some in our congregations who relate to this Biblical story on a personal level, as some have even less than Mary, Joseph and Jesus had. I recently met a single mother who has no job, no income and no home. Some immigrants in our congregations have traveled long distances and some continue to travel back and forth over the years. And, carrying legal documentation has become crucial. Even some U.S. citizens have curtailed travel to avoid being asked to produce documentation while traveling with family or friends. Some are opening their front doors, rolling down car windows, and leaving their houses of worship and being approached and asked to show documents to prove that they are citizens or legal residents, sometimes based only on their profile.
When visitors peered into the manger to see the baby Jesus, race and class distinctions did not matter. Women and men, rich and poor, wise ones and shepherds and people of color from different lands came to pay their respects to the child, who became the messiah of the world.
Jesus came into the world with meager resources. We remember those who live similarly today. As we approach this season with gratitude for all that God has done for us, we remember the star that filled the night and join in giving homage to the Christ child. We invite you to give joyfully to the Christmas Joy Offering. And, we give thanks to God for you this Advent and Christmas seasons.
All of us in Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries wish you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings in the new yea
Read the Racial Equity Torch
In the current issue of the Racial Equity Torch, we lift up the work that Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a whole, is doing to shine a light on diversity and reconciliation. Some of the articles featured in this issue include:
- Stated Clerk’s statement: ‘Are we complicit in the racism of the alt-right?’
- Presbyterian attitudes on race
- Living into the Confession of Belhar