From our President: Board shares the church commitment to inclusion

October 02, 2019

… unity must become visible so that the world may believe that separation, enmity and hatred between people and groups is sin which Christ has already conquered.

— Confession of Belhar

Our denomination is 89 percent white, with distinct Scottish roots. But we aspire to a communion that reflects a vision much broader than our own demographics. This is faithful. This is moving in the right direction. This is modeling what can be in God’s kingdom.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is committed to becoming inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups. As an agency of the Church, the Board of Pensions shares this commitment. We are building and strengthening connections with diverse audiences.

This month, we’re partnering with Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary on a Presbyterian CREDO conference for African American ministers. This conference is an opportunity for personal renewal and growth, but also for ministers to develop long-lasting relationships, giving them a community of faith to call on for support.

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations provides financial education for pastors and congregational leaders, with grants of up to $10,000 for qualifying pastors. It’s been hugely successful in lifting financial burdens from pastors, freeing them to focus on their ministry. We rolled out the program nationally this year and next year, we will make it available in Korean.

In Puerto Rico, the Board has presented benefits information, in Spanish, and answered questions from congregations and plan members. We’ll be back in Puerto Rico in November to present Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations in Spanish.

We’ve continued to be part of efforts by the larger Church to broaden the community of faith, and this year we joined national gatherings of African American, Korean, and Hispanic/Latinx Presbyterians.

The Board is working with the caucuses and councils of color to develop data that will help them define and assess progress. Expanding this information set will help the Board to better serve congregations of color.

The Church has heard God’s call to broaden the community of faith. It is a fundamental call for inclusion of those who have been marginalized. God’s word has inspired us to be something more, and we are moving in the right direction.

Grace and peace,

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer