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.
2018 Theme: Clergywomen Who Challenge Racism and Injustice
Basis for the Theme: Many of us are blessed to know clergywomen who have been advocates for racial and intercultural justice, with a respectful awareness and appreciation for each other’s different races, ethnicities, cultures and languages. At the Women of Faith breakfast, we will show gratitude and recognize clergywomen who are “woke” and who challenge systemic racism and oppression.
Purpose of award: This award recognizes clergywomen who challenge racism and injustice.
DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE — April 2018
Igniting An Intercultural Vision
They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone.
God added daily to the community those who were being saved.
— Acts 2:47
At Pentecost, the Spirit of God created the intercultural church. A larger humanity was expressed, leaving cultural and linguistic identities in place, yet unifying people together. The vision for igniting intercultural church community in this new era involves living together with a respectful awareness and appreciation of each other’s differences. We are called to ministry in an increasingly pluralistic society. To be adaptive, culturally humble leaders in the church, we want to gain insight and understanding of cultural dynamics in diverse ministry settings.
Failed efforts at inclusion, and even successful efforts, highlight the challenge to Presbyterians to learn how to share the gospel in an increasingly intercultural church. This new vision offers 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, culture and people.
This April issue of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries’ E-newsletter focuses on igniting an intercultural vision in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rev. Lemuel Garcia is the Associate Director of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. Following are some of his reflections:
Igniting the Vision for an Intercultural Church
By Rev. Lemuel Garcia
Leaders from across the Presbyterian Church (USA) representing intercultural congregations, and the Presbyterian Intercultural Network gathered at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, KY, last fall to talk about their call, passion and best practices for intercultural ministries. Ideas for possible initiatives were shared on how the Presbyterian Church may become an intercultural church that is truly welcoming and inclusive, genuinely appreciates each other’s distinctiveness and values differences.
Out of this intercultural conversation participants affirmed that “we are living in an increasingly intercultural society that brings numerous challenges and opportunities for effective and relevant ministries”. A resolution “Declaring an Imperative for the Reformation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in being a Transformative Church in This Intercultural Era” was drafted and submitted to the Presbyterian Mission Agency for deliberation and recommendation to the 223rd General Assembly (2018).
The intercultural resolution is calling the church to commit to live as God’s community together where mutual recognition and understanding of difference through self-examination, relationship building, and equitable access to power are not mere ideals but actual practices. One of the recommendations of the resolution is to urge the sessions of each congregation, as well as each mid-council, seminary, Presbyterian Women’s groups, and other entities, to take action to be intercultural in their life, work, and worship”.
While the resolution is asking the 223rd General Assembly to declare the period from 2020 to 2030 as the “Decade of Intercultural Transformation” by “focusing on transformative priorities and initiatives across the Presbyterian Church (USA)”, it is our hope and prayer that this is only the beginning of a new reformation movement in the church where God’s people who have already come from east, west, north, and south and who are already living in our midst may openly, intentionally, and joyfully be extended Christ’s welcome.
— 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:
- Stated Clerk’s statement: ‘Are we complicit in the racism of the alt-right?’
- Presbyterian attitudes on race
- Living into the Confession of Belhar