DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE — July 2020
Seminarians of Color: Where Are They Now? The Conference for Seminarians of Color reaches 40-plus years!
From the Director Column by Rhashell D. Hunter
“… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …” – Ephesians 4:12
For 40-plus years, seminarians from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have joined other church leaders to discern their calls to ordained ministry. The Conference for Seminarians of Color is important, because we need strong leaders of varied backgrounds and cultures to serve in ministries in the Church of Jesus Christ.
At the Conference for Seminarians of Color, theological students join in a spiritual environment and learn about the PC(USA), engage in vocational discernment, receive assistance on preparing for ordination exams, network, and build and sustain meaningful relationships as part of a support system during seminary and later in ministry.
This is the 40-plus-year anniversary that the national Church has equipped seminarians through the Conference for Seminarians of Color, so we thought it would be a good time to look back at former seminarians who attended the conference and ask where are they now? Some participants of the conference are:
Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett is the executive director/president of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. She has had pastorates at Elmhurst Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California; Elmwood Presbyterian Church in East Orange, New Jersey; and St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Divinity degrees from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Rev. Mauricio Chacón is the Spanish language pastor at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston. He started Iglesia Fuente de Esperanza as a new church plant, which became Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church Fuente Hispanic Ministries. He previously served as pastor of Mission Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. He received a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary and is a doctoral candidate at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is former president of the National Hispanic/Latino Presbyterian Caucus.
Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa is associate pastor of The Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe, California; adjunct assistant professor of worship for Fuller Theological Seminary; fellow for The Center for Pastor Theologians; and served as moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the PC(USA). He also served on the board of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Rev. Irvin Porter is the associate for Native American Intercultural Congregational Support in the PC(USA) and pastor of Church of the Indian Fellowship in Tacoma, Washington. He is descended from the Pima, Tohono O’odham and Nez Perce tribes. He received an Associate of Arts degree in accounting from Haskell Indian Junior College, now Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas; a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Dubuque; and a Master of Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
Rev. Ekram Kachu is pastor of First Arabic Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa. She was born in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. There, she heard the call to ministry and attended seminary in Beirut, Lebanon, but was refused ordination because she was a woman. She eventually made her way to Egypt and then the United States, where she made her home in Iowa. She received her Master of Divinity from Dubuque Theological Seminary and was a preacher at the 223rd General Assembly (2018).
And, one of these former seminarians is me! I attended the conference a number of years ago as a student at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago:
Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter is the director of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries in the PC(USA), where she has served for over a decade. She has served as pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Flint, Michigan; associate pastor for worship, music and the arts at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago; and as the former moderator of the Synod of the Covenant. She received a Doctor of Ministry in preaching and a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary; a Master of Fine Arts from Trinity University; and a bachelor’s degree and Texas Teaching Certificate from the University of Houston.
These are the seeds we have planted from 1979 to today — for over 40 years. All conference expenses are covered in full for each seminarian through the Sidney and Lillian Harris Fund. We invite you to join with Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries in supporting seminarians and church leaders of color. We welcome your prayers, your partnership and your support.
In Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, we plan numerous leadership development events, but the Conference for Seminarians of Color is one of our crown jewels. In committing to this work of racial and gender equity, 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 and class, gender and culture.
Watch the Seminarians Conference “Where are they now” video at