by Katie Shaw
Whitworth hosted the Presbyterian Church’s Unity conversation, moderated by the Rev. Neal Presa, moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, or PC(USA).
The conversation incorporated a number of speakers to discuss the various themes of diversity, race and class in the Bible held in the Seeley G. Mudd Chapel on March 12-14.
Seven plenary speakers each spoke for about an hour, followed by open discussion among the audience members and the panel members for each speaker.
“I think having community conversation is key, where we see eye to eye and face to face; we see body language,” the Rev. Presa said. “For a focused period of time, whether it be three minutes or two hours or two and a half days, we hear each other.”
Dean of Spiritual Life Terry McGonigal, specifically focused on the aspects of race, gender and class in the book of Acts.
“Every culture has some ways of defining who’s in who’s out; who’s the other and who’s not; who’s acceptable and who’s the enemy,” McGonigal said.
“We do the same thing between the genders. It becomes a point of real tension when we discover how inclusive the Gospel of Jesus is.”
Featured speakers included Lawrence Burnley, assistant vice president of intercultural relations, Jose Irizarry, director of Cambridge College Raymond Reyes, associate academic vice president and chief diversity officer at Gonzaga University, Matilde Moros, and assistant dean of special programs and initiatives at New Brunswick Theological Seminary the Rev. Laura Cheifetz, executive director of church and public relations at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and Bridgett Green, acquisitions editor at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.
“All these speakers are speaking about some aspect of these issues from their own area of expertise and their own experience,” McGonigal said.