LOUISVILLE - Two hundred women leaders from throughout the PresbyterianChurch (USA) will gather in October 2004 in Atlanta for the first-everNational Racial Ethnic Presbyterian Women Consultation, "Come! Be Refreshedby the Water of Life: A Gathering of Women of Color to Rejuvenate OurMinistry." The invitation-only event will be held on Friday, October 15 throughSunday, October 17, 2004 at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta,Georgia.
According to organizers, the consultation's purposes are four-fold:
* affirm and celebrate gifts of racial ethnic women of all ages;
* increase understanding and build solidarity among women of diversebackgrounds for mutual empowerment and collective action;
* develop strategies for racial ethnic women's empowerment both inracial ethnic churches and the church at large; and
* invite various PC(USA) entities into meaningful conversation withwomen of color.
The five plenary sessions of the conference will include a welcomeand orientation, two worship services and two panel discussions.
The first panel discussion will focus on "understanding theintersection of our multiple identities and the history of organizing bywomen of color in the church and society." The second will "examinehistorical and current U.S. immigration policies and how these policies areimpacting women of color, both those that are new and those that have been inthis land for generations, individually and collectively."
"Mini-consultations" during the gathering will cover topics such asdismantling sexism in PC(USA), the intersection of race and gender in theChurch's practices and policies, cross-cultural community building amongwomen of color, advocacy for racial ethnic clergywomen, theologicaleducation, and racial ethnic church strategy.
Additionally, one session allocated for workshops will address suchsubjects as developing leadership skills, grant writing, environmentalracism, sexual abuse, personal finance skills, young women's issues andspiritual disciplines.
"Every woman is expected to participate in and contribute to theprocess equally as partners to deepen understanding and formulate strategiesfor solving the issues confronting us," said the Rev. Unzu Lee, associate forPresbyterian Women leadership development and conference coordinator. "Theintent of the planning team is to create an intentional community of women ofcolor of all ages consisting of lay leaders, Christian educators, clergy,seminarians, seminary and racial ethnic college faculty and administrators,representatives of the racial ethnic women's constituencies, racial ethnicstaff serving agencies of the General Assembly and middle governing bodies,and others."
Staff and leaders representing various entities will be invited tothe consultation as consulting partners, including the Advocacy Committee forRacial Ethnic Concerns, the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns,Presbyterian Women, the Evangelism and Church Development Office, the GeneralAssembly Committee on Representation, Presbyterian Women, and the Theology,Worship and Discipleship Office.
Registration forms will be available by March 1, 2004. In themeantime, interested entities and racial ethnic caucuses are being urged toset aside scholarships for women of color to participate in the event.