This week, staff from Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will host three separate conferences focused on addressing the unique challenges of racial ethnic ministry, and training racial ethnic leaders to meet the needs of the changing church.

“Racial ethnic women and men face unique challenges in ministry,” says the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. “In Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, we engage the church in its mission to become more diverse, and to equip racial ethnic persons and women for leadership in the church.”

“These gatherings provide a place for racial ethnic women and men to come together to learn more about the challenges each are facing in ministry, to discuss ways we can work to become a more intercultural church and to equip attendees with the tools they need to be successful in ministry in their own context. 

Three separate events will take place in Greensboro, N.C., this week.

Racial Ethnic & New Immigrants Coaches Training

This invitation-only event brings together 25 women and men from across the PC(USA) for three days of workshops, small group discussions and leadership training events. Attendees will learn about the role of racial ethnic coaches from Sterling Morse, coordinator for Intercultural Ministries, and lean about ways to empower one another from Hector Rodriguez, associate for Hispanic/Latino-a Congregational Support. Byeongho Choi will outline ways for racial ethnic and new immigrant women and men to develop effective strategies for ministry. And Sam Atiemo, associate for African Emerging Ministries, will share ways for these coaches to work effectively with mid councils. Other workshops and discussions will focus on communication and social media, the work of the office of Intercultural ministries, and will provide space for small group discussion and reflection.

Morse says, “Our goal is to create a strong network of racial ethnic and new immigrant coaches who can then help connect these folks with the tools, resources and people they need to be successful in ministry.”

Women of Color Consultation

The 2015 Women of Color Consultation, sponsored by Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, will be held Nov. 12-14. Approximately 100 women in various leadership roles from across the PC(USA)—including young women, racial ethnic and new immigrant women, seminarians and women at the local congregational level—will gather for the event.

“Women of color often face unique challenges in ministry, and we hope that those who attend this year’s Women of Color Consultation will find opportunities to come together to renew and reconnect with friends, to enrich their minds and bodies and spirits as they hear from plenary leaders,” says Jewel McRae, associate for Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. 

Native American Leadership Conference

The Native American Leadership Conference aims to enhance the leadership skills of current Native American church leaders and to assist them in accepting wider leadership roles in the PC(USA). Organizers of this gathering also hope the event will provide a space for leaders from across the church to gather to share best-practices of leadership and to fellowship as the Body of Christ.

Attendees will learn the basics of budgeting and finance from Lydia Bailey Brown, mission engagement advisor for Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, and will learn the basics of youth ministry work from the Rev. Buddy Monahan, interim pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Odessa, Texas. The Rev. Ron McKinney, who serves as a retention specialist in the TRiO-SSS program at the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan., will deliver a workshop focused on spiritual formation for Native American leaders.

“Native Americans have long been an active presence in the church,” says the states Rev. Irv Porter, associate for Native American Congregational Support in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “They bring a unique perspective to ministry, and it’s important that the PC(USA) provides leadership training opportunities and resources specifically for these women and men in the church. These events bring together folks from across the church and provide them with a time to connect, network and learn together.”

The events are all sponsored by Racial, Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. To learn more about their work and other leadership development opportunities, visit