In our Purpose, Presbyterian Women commits to building an inclusive, caring community. Many historical, structural and cultural barriers must be overcome to make this fully realized. Making a commitment to becoming an inclusive, caring community requires us to exercise intentional leadership with this goal in mind. In addition to utilizing the PC(USA)’s cultural humility resources and training, Presbyterian Women groups may work toward inclusive, caring communities through
• Racial Equity
• PW Racial Equity Dialogues
As part of Presbyterian Women’s commitment to racial equity, a structural review task group evaluated its structure, programs, and resources from an anti-racist perspective. The structural review task group’s report and recommendations continue to guide the life and work of Presbyterian Women.
PW in the Presbytery and Synod groups are urged to read and study this report and make intentional efforts to implement the recommendations to build up God’s beloved community.
PW Racial Equity Dialogues
Racial Equity Dialogues are a way to explore in community the impact of race on individuals and communities. In 2009, PW adopted guidelines to steer PW’s national racial equity dialogue group, which was then known as the PW Racial Ethnic Dialogue. The process and group sought to
- honor the gifts, perspectives, and heritage of all God’s people and celebrate our oneness in the living Christ;
- work together toward developing a sanctuary where women of different racial-ethnic backgrounds can speak the truth to each other and be heard;
- intentionally find ways to increase mutual understanding and work together as partners in ministry through dialog;
- develop racial ethnic women’s leadership so that they may pursue their concerns and mission with confidence;
- serve as a vehicle for bringing about justice for women of all racial-ethnic backgrounds and ages in Presbyterian Women and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
—Approved by the PW Racial Ethnic Dialog, January 24, 2009
A dialogue group met for several years at the national level. The national dialogue is currently on hiatus, but regional dialogues continue to meet. For example, PW in the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic provides the following model:
The Racial Equity Dialogue (RED) of PW in the Synod of Mid-Atlantic is a racially diverse team of women from throughout the synod who focus on building relationships across racial and cultural backgrounds. The purpose of the RED is to fulfill the PW Purpose by “building an inclusive caring community” through the use of dialogue as a tool for building relationships among and between women of different races and ethnicities. For the past three years, the RED has studied books and articles on timely justice issues, focusing on how to adapt ideas from current literature into action within the synod’s presbyteries and churches to promote racial equity for all God’s children. RED is now collaborating with OAR (Offender Aid Restoration) to support those returning to their communities after incarceration. Starting initially, with a grant from the Churchwide Coordinating team each year since 2007, the RED has sponsored workshops at the PW Synod Summer Gathering.
The current team includes African American, Middle Eastern American, Hispanic/Latina American, Native American, new immigrant and European American women from the following presbyteries: Baltimore, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Virginia, The James, New Castle, National Capital, Salem, New Hope, Shenandoah, Peaks, and Western North Carolina. The group meets each summer during the PW Synod Summer Gathering and otherwise conducts its work through conference calls.
To ask a question or to learn more about Cultural Humility & Leadership, contact Susan Jackson Dowd.