The Rev. Betty Gilbert of Mount Vernon, N,Y., credits racial ethnic and women's leadership institutes with stirring within her the notion that she could and should take her ministry to the next level. Griffin participated in the inaugural Racial Ethnic Clergywomen's Leadership Institute and was a mentor in the African American Mentoring Program. She marveled that she had grown from mentee to mentor in three years.

"Racial ethnic and women's leadership institutes helped me to crystallize and to say 'yes, I am going to prepare for whatever there is for me,'" said Griffin. "Had I not done that, I am not sure I would have been fully prepared to become pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y."

Leadership institutes created by Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries develop racial ethnic, immigrant and women leaders to serve the church today and in the future. Key topics addressed at leadership institutes include managing large staff organizations, understanding multi-million dollar budgets, interviewing skills, human resources policies, self-care, time management and spiritual disciplines. 

The Rev. Jerrod Lowry of Sandy, Utah, spoke of the goals of the African American Mentoring Program. He said, "There are brothers and sisters out there, who are ordained clergy, who may have been down this same role, who can offer advise and counsel, who can pray with you, who can answer questions or just be there with you to listen, and to let you know you are not alone." 

The Rev. Alice Ridgill, organizing pastor of New Faith Presbyterian Church, a new church development in Greenwood, S.C., said “Our church is a connectional church, and I believe in using those connections to sharpen the skills that I have. Being among all of this wisdom is a wonderful thing for a young pastor.”

Two leadership institutes are planned for the fall of 2015: A Racial Ethnic Executive Leadership Institute and a Native American Leadership Development Event. Several of the participants of previous racial ethnic and women's leadership institutes have assumed leadership roles with even greater responsibility over the years. 

“Relationships are being forged with the intention of sustaining them in a way that will help participants to continue to enhance their skills, so that they will be ready to assume leadership roles in congregations, mid councils, and agencies of the church." Saud Vince Patton, racial ethnic leadership development manager in Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries. “As they begin to discern how God might be calling them to serve the church, the church will continue to be blessed with their strong leadership.”

The Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries area is committed to the development and empowerment of racial ethnic, immigrant, and women leaders through training, coaching, leadership development and resource development.