Thank YOU for helping us Launch the Dream!

With just three and a half months of advertising and outreach, 249 women of color clergy showed up in New York on October 17 and 18, 2014 to help launch the Women of Color in Ministry Project! Twelve seminaries were present too.

For this miraculous launch, I must thank all members of the Women of Color in Ministry Initiating Council. Each committee of the Council worked untiringly to bring the event to fruition. I also must thank Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary of New York, a collaborative partner of the Women of Color in Ministry Project, for her unwavering support, Dr. Lisa Rhodes, Dean of the Chapel at Spelman College, also a collaborative partner in the project, and Reverend Dr. Jesse T. Williams, Jr., Senior Pastor of Convent Avenue Baptist Church. He urged me to convene a gathering of women and then offered the space to do so.

I also am indebted to Dr. Boyung Lee of Pacific School of Religion; Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas of Vanderbilt University; Dr. Doris Garcia, president of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico; Reverend Kathy Khang, the Multiethnic Director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA Great Lakes West region; Bishop Vashti McKenzie, presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District of the AME Church; Reverend Yana Pagan of Calvary Baptist Church in Norristown, PA; and Mrs. Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Senior Director of the IJM Institute for Biblical Justice at the International Justice Mission (IJM) in Washington, DC. These preachers, plenary speakers, and workshop leaders graciously and generously, gave of their time to join us and share their gifts and talents to support women of color in ministry.

Thank you to Minister Reiko Yuge of Caldwell Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Bronx, New York; she blew the roof off the place with one song after another. Thank you to Revered Shakeema North of Concord Baptist Church of Christ of Brooklyn, who served as liturgist for the Launch Event and Mr. David Berry of the Harlem Chamber Players. He provided inspired musical accompaniment on Friday and Saturday.

The Launch Event was made possible due to generous Funding from the Ford Foundation of New York. We are all the beneficiaries of their support of social equality across the years and their support of women of color clergy. Finally, and importantly, thank you to each woman of color in ministry and to each man who chose to attend the Launch Event!

The Women of Color in Ministry Project (WOCIM) has four pillars—educational advancement, employment assistance, ministerial mentorship, and advocacy. Your presence at the Launch Event increases the courage and resolve of those of us who have determined that “on our watch” women of color in ministry will be mentored, will gain pay equity, will move into greater leadership positions in theological education, and will have the opportunity to live out their call, as God so desires.

With your help and continued partnership, we will pay more than lip service to women’s calling in religious leadership. We will change women’s lives and the institutions that they have long served. For future information, visit our website, our Facebook page, and look for us on Twitter at WOCIMIN. You can always email us at

In Appreciation

Martha Simmons

Martha Simmons, Creator, The Women of Color in Ministry Project

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