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Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries celebrates mentorship, leadership development

Ministry staff and alumni reflect during #GivingTuesday telethon on the importance of PC(USA) leaders of color

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

Jewel McRae

LOUISVILLE — Three alumni and now staff members of the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries (RE&WIM) helped individuals understand the critical role of the Conference for Seminarians of Color and the Leadership Development & Recruitment for Leaders of Color in the development of leaders of color for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director of RE&WIM; Jewel McRae, coordinator for Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries; and the Rev. Alex Zareth, associate for Leadership Development & Recruitment for Leaders of Color, are all alumni of the PC(USA)’s efforts to develop leaders of color within the denomination.

The conference is now celebrating 40 years of helping seminarians of color navigate the path for leadership opportunities within the PC(USA). Alumni of the program include denomination leaders like former General Assembly moderators, including the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow and the Rev. Dr. Neal Presa, Presbyterian Mission Agency President and Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, and others.

McRae says the three-day conference allows individuals to form relationships. “It is a blessing,” said McRae. “Not only do the participants develop relationships with other seminarians, they stay connected throughout their vocation and throughout their ministry and that has been a blessing.”

the Rev. Alex Zareth

Zareth, who previously presented at the conference, said, “This conference is just such a great opportunity. I think one of the reasons there’s such a connection is that we connect around the issue of feeling like minorities, feeling so alone. And then everybody who’s gone through seminary knows how stressful that is. So in the middle of all that normal stress for everybody, you’re able to come and just be together and say, ‘This is really hard!’ We share that.”

In addition to the Conference for Seminarians of Color, Zareth used a segment during the #GivingTuesday telethon to share information about the mentoring opportunities and mentorship ministries offered by RE&WIM. “The success of this event lies in its process, which is unique. It included nominations from all church levels and conversations with leaders who deeply care,” she said. “The nominees thoughtfully consider their call and their understanding of what God is calling them to do in this season. Leadership development is a theme that is woven throughout Scripture.”

the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter

Reflecting on the rich diversity of God’s kin-dom, Hunter says it includes all of God’s people. “We offer leadership development to people of color, new immigrants, young adults, and women through fruitful, mentoring and relationships. Through the RE&WIM Conference for Seminarians of Color and mentorship programs, individuals learn dialogue and blend theory with practice to better serve the church and commit to this work of racial and gender equity.”

Hunter says when God’s love is spread to every race and class, gender and culture, we have a greater chance of living out the biblical vision of a world where the humanity of everyone is valued.

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