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 — SEPTEMBER 2017
I Confess my Iniquity; I am Sorry For My Sin
“But it is for you, O God, that I wait; it is, O Sovereign my God, who will answer.
…I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”
— Psalm 38:15, 18
The September issue of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries E-newsletter focuses on the Native American Apology and the PC(USA)’s Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. These action items from the 222nd General Assembly (2016) are being shared in Native American communities and throughout the church.
Church leaders from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) apologize to Native Americans for its participation in removing traditional ceremonies, rituals, and language from Native communities. The church has not valued the personhood and spirituality of Native peoples and has neglected to recognize and affirm the great gifts that Native peoples offer to the church and society.
There has been a Presbyterian presence in Native American communities and reservations in the United States since the late 1600s. Native Americans have had a long history of ministry in the church. The Office of Native American Intercultural Congregational Support in the Presbyterian Mission Agency has assisted the PC(USA) to respond to Native American congregational issues and to enable Native American Presbyterians to participate actively and effectively within the PC(USA) at all levels. Rev. Irvin Porter is the Associate for Native American Intercultural Congregational Support in Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. Following are some of his reflections:
Native American Ministry in the PC(USA)
Irvin Porter, Associate
Native American Intercultural Congregational Support
This year has been busy already: presentation of the Apology to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hawaiians at an Inupiaq gathering in Barrow, Alaska, Native American advocates gathering to discuss two General Assembly actions on Native American issues, presentations on those GA Actions at Austin Theological Seminary, gathering of Native Americans from Reformed Church in America and PC(USA) and meeting of the Native American Consulting Committee.
Two Actions passed by the 222nd General Assembly (2016) were the Apology to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hawaiians for the denomination’s complicity in the Indian boarding school era and repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, the basis for Indian Law using a 1493 papal edict giving Spain exclusive right to lands “discovered” in 1492.
This office, the Native American Consulting Committee and Office of the General Assembly will help the Co-Moderators share this apology with Native congregations and leaders of Native American nations coordinating with Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries.
Together with the Presbyterian Mission Agency and Office of General Assembly the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns and a team of Native leaders, Mark Koenig, Coordinator of Racial and Intercultural Justice in the PC(USA), and I will examine the Doctrine of Discovery’s history; review actions taken by other denominations and religious groups and consult Native American tribes and individuals to understand how this Doctrine impacts them. A report will describe the Doctrine, explain its history, and recommend how congregations can support Native Americans.
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)