The Interim Committee tasked with writing a Pastoral Letter on Racial Lament and Hope gathered September 20-21 to begin its work. The group met at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando. The formation of the committee was approved by the 42nd General Assembly and appointed by that Assembly’s outgoing Moderator, Brad Strait.
The co-Chairmen of the committee are Gerrit Dawson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, La., and Glenn Meyers, Commissioned Pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa., and Moderator of the 40th General Assembly.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this way,” Meyers said. “God has been preparing me personally over the past few years to deal with these issues, and my experience as a Black man is part of the whole. Our pastors are on the front lines of this issue, and even some of my elders are asking me if we want to ‘poke the bear.’ It is a difficult time to be a Black man in America, and I have a new understanding of that.”
Dawson noted that the American church “has languished on this issue, which has allowed non-biblical groups to grab the narrative. How many of our pastors said this was the most divisive thing they talked about in 2020? I addressed it with our congregation, and after one sentence I was called both a white supremacist and a critical race theorist. It’s difficult—we are balancing the difficulty of being Black in America with the feeling of white people that they are looked at as the problem. But I am passionate that we have a better story to tell,” Dawson said.
“I can’t imagine two better individuals to shepherd this process,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “They bring different viewpoints, but their pastoral hearts will get us where need to go.”
In addition to Meyers and Dawson, members of the committee are Sean Boone, church planting pastor of Woke Bridge Community Church in Ferguson, Mo.; Ken Chang, Ruling Elder for Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo.; Linda McDaniel, Ruling Elder for Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.; Marcos Ortega, Lead Pastor for the Beacon, N.Y., campus of Goodwill Church; George Robertson, Senior Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis; Annie Rose, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Eric Shipton, Assistant Pastor and Director of Outreach and Missions for Reynolda Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Carol Williams, Ruling Elder for Covenant Presbyterian Church in Sharon, Pa.
Ex officio members are Weaver; Michael Davis, Assistant Stated Clerk; Brad Strait, Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo., and Chairman of the National Leadership Team; Rosemary Lukens, Ruling Elder for Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, Wash., and Moderator of the 42nd General Assembly; and Joe Kim, church planting pastor of Hope Philly Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pa., and Moderator-elect of the 43rd General Assembly.