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Greensboro Pastor heads to Louisville to lead Presbyterian Mission Agency

Special to the Peacemaker / May 17, 2018

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Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett

LOUISVILLE – Following an expansive national search, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) elected Greensboro, N.C. pastor, the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). This organization is one of six agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Moffett will assume leadership on June 11. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the 223rd General Assembly, which meets in St. Louis, June 16-23.

“I am excited about my call to the Mission Agency and am passionate about the church and the Good News that we have for a world that certainly needs it,” said Moffett, following the PMAB vote. “I want to be sure we are doing all that we can to transform those places in our world where there is oppression and poverty.”

“Diane is a multi-dimensional leader and author whose decades of inspiring leadership have been honed through varied and dynamic experiences,” said Nancy Ramsay, chair of the Executive Director Search Committee. “Her faith in God and hope for the new life made possible through Jesus Christ is evident in her work, her writings and her character. I believe the PMA will flourish with Diane’s leadership.”

“In order to really bear fruit, we need an intimate relationship with God,” added Moffett. “I have learned that leadership is about relationships, and I seek to develop a culture of openness and trust with one another.

About the Search

The PMA Search Committee resumed its search in 2018, reaching out to some 200 individuals. The field was eventually narrowed to 16, and then to five candidates, representing a broad range of diversity. The semifinalist candidate pool included three women and two people of color. Among the finalist candidate pool were two women and two people of color.

As described in the Leadership Profile, the goal of the search was to recruit a president/executive director with the following assets:

  • Inspiring leader of transformation and mission
  • Manager of change
  • Able to build cohesive, mission-focused culture
  • Relationships across the Church
  • Able to lead PMA to a vibrant future

Personal characteristics include: credibility; organizational and change management experience; cultural fluency; awareness of the changing Church; confidence and humility; ability to thrive with ambiguity and change; courage and innovation; and passion for the Church and mission.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend hiring the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett. Diane is a multi-dimensional leader and author whose decades of transformational leadership have been honed within various arenas of complexity. She has served as a congregational pastor, executive of an urban outreach ministry and community leader in Oakland, CA, East Orange, NJ, and Greensboro, NC. In 2017, Diane ran for public office in a competitive race for mayor of Greensboro.

Diane is currently the senior pastor of Saint James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she has served since 2005. She is the current moderator of the Executive Council of Salem Presbytery and was previously moderator of Salem Presbytery. Other PC(USA) leadership roles have included chair of the 218th General Assembly’s Climate for Change (Cultural Proficiency) Task Force, a group charged with assessing the six agencies of the General Assembly’s progress in cultural proficiency and presenting recommendations for improvement in this area. Diane also served as an advisory member on the African American Advisory Committee for the PC(USA) and as vice president of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus.

An active community leader, Diane currently serves on the boards of Presbyterian Homes, The Cone Health Network, and the Cone Foundation, where she sits on the executive committee. Diane helped to establish and serves as the co-moderator of the Greensboro Interfaith Clergy Council and as vice president of the Pulpit Forum, both faith-based advocacy organizations.

The search committee was especially drawn to Diane’s passion for mission. In each of her leadership roles, and even as a seminarian, Diane has led adaptively in promoting transformative change through significant congregational involvement with surrounding communities.

Diane’s commitment to connecting congregations with their communities has developed into an effective, engaged practice of ministry that speaks to the needs of the 21st-century church.

As senior pastor of Saint James Presbyterian in Greensboro, North Carolina — a historically black congregation formed by formerly enslaved Africans who had worshipped at First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro — Diane helped develop a partnership between both congregations, and through a yearlong process of listening and learning, a joint service of reconciliation was held that had positive ramifications across the city and the denomination.

Previous calls include pastor of Elmwood Presbyterian in East Orange, New Jersey (1995–2005), where she successfully secured funding for the launch of a second worshipping site. While still a seminarian, Diane served as student pastor for Elmhurst Presbyterian in Oakland, California (1987–1992). When she arrived, Elmhurst was a congregation in decline. She successfully integrated the church into the life of the community, developed relationships with other faith-based and community leaders, expanded and nurtured new ecclesial leadership, and raised resources that led to the call of an associate pastor. That church is still ongoing.

From 1993–95, Diane served as executive director of Harbor House Ministries in Oakland, a complex outreach ministry within one of the most diverse communities in America. Harbor House supports children, youth and families with education, before- and after-school care, food, clothing, workforce training and other needs. While at Harbor House, she expanded the budget and donor base of the ministry. She also helped residents establish two businesses to employ people in the community.

Diane displays a warmth for mission conveyed with enthusiasm. She is a sought-after preacher whose sermons are frequently included in collections. Her book Beyond Greens and Cornbread: Reflections of African American Christian Identity received excellent reviews from various publications.

Diane’s unique gifts of interpersonal leadership, intercultural community engagement, developing faithful leaders, church planting and cross-cultural competency elevated her candidacy among other potential PMA leaders and commends her to lead PMA at its current stage.




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