Does the recommendation of the Board of Trustees about future hires of the CRC’s senior leadership ensure greater diversity or does it set us up for another failure?
The Board of Trustees recommends that synod “endorse the Diversity in Leadership Planning Group report…” (Agenda, p. 37), a report that recommends that “all future hires will be made in accordance with the CRCNA’s diversity objectives and its goal of 25 percent racial minority leaders in CRCNA positions of senior leadership…” (Agenda, p. 57).
Because people of color, who comprise approximately 10% of our membership, were not well incorporated into leadership positions, Synod 1995 encouraged “boards, agencies, and itself and future synods to include in their committees persons who reflect the ethnic, gender and racial diversity of our denomination…on a particular matter to be studied (Acts of Synod 1995, p. 656). Synod also decided to include “up to seven members from the various ethnic communities in the CRC to serve as advisors to synod…” (Acts of Synod 1995, p. 694).
Synod 2005 reviewed the practice of appointing ethnic advisers and encouraged classes:
a. “to include at least one ethnic minority person in its synodical delegation beginning with Synod 2006.”
b. “to develop a strategy to intentionally incorporate ethnic minorities into the life and government of the local church and broader assemblies and submit their plan to the BOT by March 15, 2007 (Acts of Synod 2005, p. 748 & 755).
Synod also instructed “the Board of Trustees…to report in the annual Agenda for Synod, and to make recommendations if necessary, on the denomination’s progress in attaining its goal of at least one ethnic minority synodical delegate from each classis and on the denomination’s progress in incorporating ethnic minorities on denominational boards (Acts of Synod 2005, p. 756).
This year’s Agenda is first to report on our progress in incorporating ethnic minorities and women on denominational boards. It reports “a decrease of five women and a decrease of four persons of color on the boards over the previous year (p. 26).” No Agenda has ever reported on our progress in attaining our goal of at least one ethnic minority synodical delegate from each classis, but we have room to improve. At Synod 2010 there were less than a dozen ethnic minority delegates, four of them from Pacific Hanmi, our Korean classis. This year twenty-one are expected (Agenda, p. 27).
The Board of Trustees has made no recommendations on these matters, and our Race Relations office has not reminded our classes about this goal as classes gather to elect their synodical delegates. I wonder how many classes submitted their plan to “intentionally incorporate ethnic minorities…” by the March 2007 deadline.
The goal of a person of color from each classis would mean that 25% of the delegates would be people of color, the same percentage now being proposed for the senior leadership of our denomination. Was that goal too aggressive? Is the current goal too aggressive? Could our denominational leadership have better assisted us in attaining our previous goal? Does this reflect a broader challenge, namely that it’s one thing to declare something at synod and quite another to put feet on it in the churches?
One encouraging sign in this area is the recent appointment of Rev. Moses Chung, a Korean pastor, as the director of Home Missions.