October 26, 2016
Three women have been honored with the 2016 Women of Faith Awards conferred by the Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The awards honor female members of the PC(USA) whose lives exemplify their Christian commitment through witness, service, and leadership. The 2016 Women of Faith awardees are:
Lucy Apatiki, Gambell, Alaska, Presbytery of Yukon
Apatiki is a member of Gambell Presbyterian Church, where she served as commissioned ruling elder for many years. Apatiki was the driving force behind the reconciliation event between the people of Gambell and the Presbytery of Yukon. A fracture between the church and the community had existed since the late 1890s.
Her leadership led to the healing of wounds caused by the early Presbyterian Church’s now-discredited mission policy that sought to stamp out native language and culture as part of the church’s evangelization efforts in Alaska. The healing efforts resulted in a 2012 New Beginnings reconciliation event.
As a sociologist and addiction counselor for the Norton Sound Health Corporation, she combines the practical aspects of service as counselor and sociologist with the theological calling of service. Her ongoing efforts in prayer and Bible study, intertwined with her compassion for people trapped by addiction, generational trauma, and other sociological ills, give Apatiki a holistic understanding of the community’s needs, and of the opportunities God provides for responding to those needs.
Sarah Noble-Moag, Pavilion, New York, Presbytery of Genesee Valley
Noble-Moag is an elder at Covington Presbyterian Church and has served on the Committee on Ministry and Migration Working Group—a forum on immigration reform—for the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. In her position at Noblehurst Farms, she focuses on human resource management, working with employees from the local community, Hispanic/Latino-a immigrants, and Bhutanese refugees.
She has built bridges of reconciliation in her community through the personal relationships she has developed with immigrants and refugees. She welcomes these new neighbors and helps others to do the same, by seeking to understand their home communities so as to best support and empower their transition to the United States.
From organizing flu clinics and providing transportation for medical care to ensuring that employees have a safe, just, and equitable work environment and that immigrant children have equal access to universal pre-K programs, Noble-Moag has witnessed to her faith and understanding, strengthened her rural community, and taught others to build relationships across cultures.
Clarissa Walker Whaley, Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery
Whaley serves as a ruling elder at the historic St. James Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Charleston. In 2011 she was appointed moderator for the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery. In that role, she helped guide congregations in the presbytery through the discernment process as they weighed whether to leave the PC(USA) because of theological differences within the denomination. Ultimately only one congregation sought dismissal, while the others reconciled all issues and remained in the presbytery.
As a victim services professional for the Office of the US Attorney for the District of South Carolina, Whaley serves the needs of crime victims through referral services, advocacy education, and community outreach. She ministered to survivors of the June 2015 shooting that killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. As part of her ministry in the aftermath of the shooting, Whaley walked with those who offered forgiveness for the horrific violence.
Whaley serves with compassion while providing hope and healing to those who face the harshness of society. She promotes healing among victims and participates in the restoration of confidence in humankind.
Gail Strange, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: 2016 Women of Faith Awards
Let us join in prayer for:
Covington Presbyterian Church
St. James Presbyterian Church Staff
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Almighty God, grant us eyes to see our world as you would have it. Use our hearts, our minds, and our hands to bring us one step closer to that world today. Amen.