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Give 8/28 to be a part of the PC(USA)’s Week of Action

Funds raised will help develop Presbyterian leaders of color

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — As the Bearing Witness team prepares for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Week of Action, August 23-29, efforts to ensure that Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries (RE&WIM) can continue to develop leaders of color within the denomination are well under way.

“I am excited that #Give 828 will again this year be included in the Week of Action and the official campaign is now in full swing,” said Lynne Foreman, Mission Engagement Advisor and a member of the Bearing Witness team. “The significance of #Give 828 and its impact during the celebration of Black Philanthropy Month 2021 continues to shape the narrative about Black philanthropic giving and its contributions to improving the quality of life in Black communities around the world. #Give 828 will have a lasting imprint for years to come.”

#Give828 is a national day of giving focused specifically on supporting Black-benefitting organizations and is unlike other fundraising campaigns. This day takes place during Black Philanthropy Month and commemorates multiple important historical landmarks in Black Americans’ march toward freedom.

Gifts to #Give828 will go to support leadership development for leaders of color by funding the Katie Geneva Cannon Scholarship, the Conference for Seminarians of Color and women pursuing higher education.

With the nearly $60,000 raised in 2020, RE&WIM was able to help several women pursue their Master of Divinity degree as well as other professional and career opportunities. It also helped to launch a mentoring cohort for newly-ordained women.

The Katie Geneva Cannon Scholarship fund supports PC(USA) women of color, including clergywomen, Black women and girls, college women, seminarians, immigrant women, elders, deacons, as well as other women of color, with opportunities for leadership and spiritual development. It helps women to develop leadership gifts and to be equipped for even greater service in the PC(USA).

In 2021 more than $15,000 was awarded to 13 women engaged in a wide range of educational interests and professional pursuits as a result of the funds raised to support the Katie Geneva Cannon Scholarship fund.

With this scholarship, clergywomen of color and other women of color will continue to be provided with opportunities to attend national and regional church events, further their education, connect with others like themselves, network with those who are involved in clergy search and nomination processes, and be more equipped for ministry.

Jewel McRae

“Support for #Give828 allows RE&WIM to hold events that allow the ministry to develop and train diverse Presbyterian leaders and seminarians of color who are answering God’s call to prepare the church to be a welcoming place of worship, mission, and spiritual nurture for all of God’s children, especially those who have been marginalized,” said Jewel McRae, Coordinator for Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries.

“We were also able to support women like the Rev. Cedar Dang,” McRae said. The funds raised helped her obtain her doctoral degree.” Dang is the pastor of the Vietnamese Presbyterian Church (VPC) in Garden Grove, California. She is the first woman to be installed as senior minister of a Vietnamese-language congregation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

In a Facebook interview discussing the 2021 events the Rev. Shanea Leonard, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice who is also serving as the coordinator for the Week of Action, said, “It’s an international Week of Action. Our Bearing Witness team is super excited about this year. Our theme this year is ‘Shades of Oppression, Resistance, and Liberation.’ Last year in 2020, we responded to the ever-present and rising epidemic of racialized injustice in this country.”

The Rev. Shanea Leonard

“The Bearing Witness team wanted to do something that helped us feel like we were more involved in not just a pragmatic way, but in a kind of ‘hands and feet’ ‘boots on the ground’ type of way, really connecting across the denomination and internationally. And then with local folks who are doing the work as well. And so, since this was such a success last year, this year we were absolutely sure that we needed to do that work again.”

Leonard says the scope has been widened this year to include not only the issues that are pertinent to Black folks and the Black Lives Matter movement, but also others who are suffering under systems of oppression as well.

Leonard noted that while this does not cover the plethora of folks who are suffering in these modern times, the Week of Action will address the plight of poverty; the Asian American Pacific Islander discrimination and killings that have occurred over the past year; gun violence and mass shootings; LGBTQIA+ resistance and resilience; and murdered and missing Indigenous women.

“We will cover also international struggles,” said Leonard. “Then finally we will as always cover the issues concerning Black Lives Matter.”

Show your support by donating to these important ministries. Click here to donate. For those donors wishing to give by check, please write “2021 Give828” in the memo line and mail it to P.O. Box 643700, Lockbox #00, Pittsburg, PA, 15264-3700.

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