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The Revs. Kate Murphy and Eulando Henton have been friends and colleagues in ministry in Charlotte, North
Carolina, for more than a decade. They speak to one another each week about the joys and challenges of leading
intercultural congregations — Murphy has for almost 12 years been pastor of The Grove Presbyterian Church and Henton was called three years ago to be the first African American pastor at a historically white congregation, Derita Church.
Working with pastors of struggling churches, I’ve been increasingly asking them what they expected. How does it differ from what they’re facing? What’s clear is that many are disappointed with their churches for not meeting their expectations. Thus the question arises: Are our expectations realistic?
Korean immigrant churches in the PC(USA) continue to be less inclined to have female pastors, but Korean clergywomen are finding other ways to serve.
I graduated from seminary over 46 years ago and I have served in very large urban congregations, suburban large churches, campus ministry, hospital chaplaincy, congregations with schools and nursing homes — and in Miami, where about 70 percent of the folks are Latino. So, I have learned a great deal over my career that was never brought up in seminary. My thesis, therefore, is that all effective pastors need to be prepared to know and be aware of resources that the folks we minister to need to survive.
Sometimes faith renewal happens in ways you would never imagine.
Mission co-worker John McCall, who has served in Taiwan for more than 20 years, works to build the leadership skills of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. He leads groups of pastors who meet monthly to find encouragement and challenge, but he felt called to do more. He wanted to give the pastors he was mentoring an opportunity to find spiritual renewal.
One day, while taking a break from studying in the Duke Divinity School library, I got into a conversation that would change the course of my family’s life. As I talked with a stranger, I learned he was the only person in the world with a Ph.D. in New Testament, which is also my field of study, who could speak the particular language of the country where he was training Christians for ministry. This really struck me.