In Racial Ethnic & Women’s 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 and Native American emerging ministries. The racial ethnic and new immigrant worshiping communities that we support regularly gather together, constructing a racial ethnic identity that stems from a common history, heritage and language. We work closely with racial ethnic 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 racial ethnic persons, new immigrants, and women can serve fully in ministry and leadership.
In our ministries we work to achieve gender and racial justice and equip racial ethnic women, men and young adults for leadership. We assist college-age and racial ethnic young women 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 — AUGUST 2017
God’s Intercultural Community
…and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and
to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
— Micah 6:8b
The August issue of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries E-newsletter focuses on the African American legacy of prophetic leadership for justice, which continues to transform the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Over 200 years ago in 1807, Rev. John Gloucester, a former slave, established the first African American Presbyterian congregation in the United States, appropriately named First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. At the 222nd General Assembly (2016), The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, was elected to the highest ecclesiastical office in the church, the Office of the Stated Clerk. He is the first African American to serve as Stated Clerk in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The assembly also made history by electing two women as co-moderators, the first all-women moderatorial ticket, the Rev. Denise Anderson and the Rev. Jan Edmiston. 30 years after it was birthed in South Africa during its battle against apartheid, the assembly voted to include the Belhar Confession in our Book of Confessions. Facing Racism, a Vision of the Intercultural Community (the revised churchwide anti-racism policy) was also approved, as well as an action to address the “Worsening Plight of the African American Male.” Rev. Sterling Morse is the Coordinator of African American Intercultural Congregational Support in Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. Following are some of his reflections:
On Taking Specific Action to Address the Worsening Plight of the African American Male
The 222nd General Assembly approved Item 10-03 On Taking Specific Action on the Worsening Plight of the African American Male. In a climate that finds only 54% of African Americans graduating from high school, 1 million of the 2.3 million incarcerated in prison; 49% arrested before reaching the age of 23, 1 in 3 between the ages 18-24 are unemployed, and 38.2% African American children living below the poverty line, a church-wide call has been made …“to address and improve the worsening plight of the African American male in any of the five specified cities as a pilot initiative pointing toward future and further nationwide intervention.” Those cities are: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, and Charlotte.
Specific actions call for Presbyterian Mission Agency, mid councils and congregations to:
- Advocate at the state and local level
- Address recidivism
- Engage males in the community between ages 6-25
- Empower to develop hirable skills
- Collaborate with established agencies/groups
Also, General Assembly recommended that congregations and mid councils join in this ministry by offering the funding received by congregations in the Peace & Global Witness offering to the Freedom Rising Fund for African American males. The Peace & Global Witness offering starts September 3 through October 1, 2017—World Communion Sunday. More information:
The Office of African American Intercultural Congregational Support, in collaboration with the Louisville Chapter of National Black Presbyterian Caucus, the African American Youth/Young Adult Commission of Mid Kentucky Presbytery and Louisville Urban League will offer an African American Male Empowerment Day, August 5, 2017 at Westwood Presbyterian Church, Louisville KY, from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. The event is a response to two recommendations in General Assembly Item 10-03, On Taking Specific Action to Address the Worsening Plight of the African American Male, this event to offer a day of empowerment to African American males between the ages of 16-27.
Rhashell D. Hunter
Read the Racial Ethnic Torch
In the current issue of the Racial Ethnic Torch, we lift up the work that Racial Ethnic & Women’s 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:
- The dismantling of immigrant & refugee families
- PC(USA) leaders issue apology to Native Americans, Alaska natives and native Hawaiians
- Hands & Feet mission initiative leads up to 223rd General Assembly (2018)