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[PCUSANEWS] White leads first meeting as SDOP director
PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
31 Jan 2003 15:59:16 -0500
Note #7581 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
White leads first meeting as SDOP director
January 31, 2003
White leads first meeting as SDOP director
Two other staffers looking forward to new positions
by Evan Silverstein
LOS ANGELES - The National Committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Self-Development of People (SDOP) program recently met here electing new
officers and approving a number of project grants.
The gathering marked the first committee meeting convened by Cynthia
E. White as SDOP's new director. The 49-year-old native of Asheville, NC, was
named to the top-spot in October after 18 years as SDOP's associate for
She succeeds the Rev. Fredric T. Walls, who retired last April after
22 years as director of the program, which is dedicated to helping
disadvantaged people worldwide become self-sufficient.
"I'm excited about where the ministry is," said White, whose new
responsibilities include staff coordination and building and maintaining
ecumenical partnerships. "I think we have a dedicated and committed elected
group of people and staff who take seriously our mandate of engaging in
partnerships with poor and oppressed people."
Two other SDOP staffers who find themselves in new positions joined
White at the meeting, Jan. 24-25.
Clara Nunez, tapped to replace White as associate for program
administration, was present in her new capacity. Also turning out, the Rev.
Michael Williams, a SDOP partnership advocate from Florida, who was recently
named associate for program development.
"You fall in love with self-development," said the 32-year-old Nunez,
who was SDOP's bilingual administrative assistant for about two years before
starting her new position Jan. 21. "During your lifetime you dream about how
to help people. Working with self-development you get to be involved in
helping people. It's an incredible experience."
Funded primarily by the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, SDOP
gives members and non-members of the PC(USA) opportunities to establish
partnerships with poor, oppressed and disadvantaged communities by providing
small grants to groups in the United States and abroad who create and manage
local development projects.
"The primary challenge facing us is that we need for Presbyterian
congregations to know Self-Development of People," White said. "We need for
them to understand the ministry. And we need for them to see how through
their giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing that they are intimately
involved in development around the world."
Making people aware of SDOP's ministry is nothing new for Williams,
who as partnership advocate sought out groups of poor, oppressed and
disadvantaged people, explaining the program and urging them to apply for
Williams, as associate for program development, will be responsible
for promotion, education and interpretation of SDOP, working closely with
presbyteries, synods and congregations to increase their understanding and
awareness of the program, its mission and mandate.
"I feel very comfortable with my new position," he said between
business sessions at a Los Angeles hotel. "Much of the work I've done (as
partnership advocate) for nearly the last two years has been closely related
to the work that I'll be doing now."
His old duties will be divided among other partnership advocates when
he moves from Tampa, FL, to the Presbyterian Center in Louisville to start
his new job on Feb. 10. He replaces Patricia L. Lane, who left last year to
become pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in El Paso, TX.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to work in such
a unique ministry," said Williams, an ordained Baptist minister who has
served as a supply pastor of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Amelia County,
The bilingual administrative assistant position, previously held by
Nunez, remains vacant, but SDOP officials are hopeful of filling it soon.
Among Nunez's new responsibilities will be to review all development project
proposals to determine if they meet SDOP criteria and guidelines for funding
consideration by the National Committee.
"I want to improve the way in which our committee members receive
(project) applications to review," said Nunez, a native of Guayaquil,
Ecuador. "Perhaps make it accessible to our committee members via the
Development projects were key during the SDOP National Committee
meeting as members approved funding for 44 different projects designed to
help low-income partners become self-sufficient, grow communities and realize
their full potential (Full story).
Also during the meeting, the National Committee:
* elected as its chairperson Steven Flythe of Princeton, NJ, and
Joanna Kennedy of Lincoln, NE, vice-chairperson. In May, Flythe will succeed
Toshio Akita of Hollister, CA, who recently stepped down as chairperson for
personal reasons. Kennedy will succeed Flythe as vice-chairperson;
* elected task force chairs: the Rev. Marvin Miller, Storm Lake, IA,
Midwest Task Force; the Rev. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Brucken of Barre, VT,
Northeast Task Force; John Etheredge, Rocky Mount, NC, South Task Force;
Sidney Birt, Portland, OR, West Task Force; and Cecilia Moran, Stockton, CA,
International Task Force;
l elected standing committee chairs: Lori Winblood, Lake City, CO,
Certification Committee; and Michelle Uchiyama, Jackson, GA, Promotion
Education and Interpretation Committee. As National Committee chairperson,
Flythe will also serve as Steering Committee chair. Kennedy, as National
Committee vice-chairperson, will also serve as chair of the Personnel
* approved policy stating that domestic projects failing to respond
to correspondence within three months regarding award grants or release of
funds may have its grants rescinded;
* approved action for each committee task force to appoint one person
to a special committee to develop a "streamline process" by which groups may
be considered for funding a second year without requiring them to repeat the
entire application process.
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