In celebration of the recently signed partnership covenant between the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the National Black Presbyterian Caucus, three representatives from the Caucus joined the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board for morning worship and devotions during the board’s meeting, held Sept. 23–25 in Louisville.
Arlene Gordon, past president of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus, celebrated the historic agreement, signed during the NBPC’s annual gathering earlier this summer, and shared remarks focusing on the agreement’s aim to strengthen World Mission’s recruitment among African-American Presbyterians for service as mission co-workers and Young Adult Volunteers around the world.
David Wallace, the current president of NBPC, and Lonnie Oliver, associate for African American Congregational Support in the Presbyterian Mission Agency, joined Gordon as representatives of the Caucus at the meeting.
“My prayer is that God will allow us to claim anew, and guide this partnership,” said Gordon. “Our conversations with World Mission began about a year ago, as we observed very few people of color who were serving as mission co-workers and Young Adult Volunteers. Together, a decision was made to focus our work as a Caucus on mission work. My message to you today is to go, to go and make disciples.”
Hunter Farrell, director of Presbyterian World Mission, added, “Sometimes in our best attempt to love, we end up hurting those that we care about. We recognized a need for these conversations to be had and invited our sisters and brothers from the National Black Presbyterian Caucus to join us as we examined our structures of mission and our work and we invited our friends from the caucus to join us as we began to discern ways in which we could improve our systems and structures of recruitment. We give thanks for the courage and willingness of the Caucus to speak the truth in love.”
Farrell quoted a proverb from South Central Congo during his remarks. “To walk among people together is to embrace wisdom,” he said. “We give thanks for your wisdom and give thanks to God.
The agreement between the National Black Presbyterian Caucus and Presbyterian World Mission outlines several key objectives, including:
- Targeted education and recruitment efforts bringing the African-American reality and experiences of African-Americans into the denomination’s mission education efforts to increase the number of African-Americans within the PC(USA) answering God’s call to mission and justice work as mission co-workers and young adult volunteers
- Authentic truth and reconciliation, mission education, and process building among PC(USA) congregations to encourage African-American mission participation, especially among youth and young adults
- Development of strategies and components for orientation and ongoing care to retain and motivate African-American mission personnel, including YAVs.”