The six agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and two entities (Presbyterian Women and A Corporation’s Administrative Services Group) were directed by the 223rd General Assembly (2018) to take the necessary steps to become racially just and equitable employers. This action reaffirmed our approach to be all-inclusive and to tear down any and all barriers that keep our siblings from the love of Christ.
With the input of several leaders within our church, including the Diverse Voices Table, the agencies and entities unanimously agreed to pursue a race-centered audit, select a vendor, and finalize a budget and an aggressive timeline, so that we could report our findings to the 224th General Assembly (2020).
There was focused discussion about disability and LGBTQIA+ inclusions, and some raised liability concerns around asking employees about disability and sexual identity in a focus group recruitment survey.
All agencies, except the Board of Pensions, were satisfied by the employee privacy safeguards recommended by the outside auditor, and despite some reservations, all agreed to move forward in order to be in compliance with both the letter and spirit of the General Assembly action.
The Board of Pensions was not able to reach agreement on language for the questions and has ultimately chosen not to proceed.
While we regret the Board of Pensions’ decision to withdraw, the remaining agencies and entities are committed to moving forward with this important action. If the church is to be an advocate for the world to be all-inclusive, we must look within ourselves to ensure that we are what we claim to be.
We are and will continue to be a reforming church, seeking to follow Christ’s example to love one another and to welcome any and all who seek community.