There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -- Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
The goal of the Office of Diversity Development and Inclusion is to move the church forward in being racially inclusive of all persons as we seek to make disciples for the transformation of the world. We support congregations, clergy, the cabinet, and conference staff in the work of diversity, anti-racism, and inclusion.
Rev. Debra Mason, Coordinator of Diversity Development and Inclusion, assists the Western PA Conference to live more fully into the goal of Dismantling Racism, one of its Five Areas of Focus. Rev. Mason develops and facilitates training events that raise awareness of implicit bias and increase cultural competencies, and works with individuals and local church/Conference committees to highlight the importance of diversity in fulfilling the mission of the church.
Debra also works with ethnic clergy under appointment in the Conference, assisting with the development of support systems, meeting with church leaders to share best practices and conversation, regularly visiting and supporting those in cross-racial/cross-cultural appointments, and facilitating crisis management where needed.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Debra Mason has worked in large corporations, nonprofits, higher education, and as a business owner. She relocated to Pittsburgh in 1993 with the Xerox Corporation, where she worked as a senior staff member in sales, staffing and development, and client operations. In 2004 she started her own firm, Victory Management, an organizational management and employee consulting/training business specializing in diversity, leadership, and process improvement. In 2015, after working in education and training at the Seton Hill University Women's Business Center, she was named the University's first Diversity and Inclusion Officer and previously had served in a similar post for the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh.
Debra earned a BA from Wayne State University in Detroit, an MA from University of Phoenix, and a MDiv from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is currently working on a Doctor of Management at the University of Phoenix, specializing in Diversity and Inclusion.
The highlight of Debra’s career was when she was appointed pastor of John Wesley UMC in Washington, PA in 2013. Preaching, teaching and providing pastoral care created a desire in Debra to be in full-time ministry. She is now the proud pastor of Otterbein UMC in Greensburg.
The office of Diversity Development and Inclusion is assisted by an eight-member advisory board, including Rev. Scott Gallagher, Rev. Dr. Zayzay Kpadeh, Leanna Lake, Marilyn Larimer, Rev. Dr. Renee Mikell, Jay Pendleton, Rev. Pamela Ramsey, and Bob Stark.
Friday, December 1, 2023 9:30 AM | Edinboro UMC
Saturday, April 6, 2024 8:00 AM | Dutilh UMC
In response to God’s grace, we the people of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church joyfully embrace our identity as an anti-racist community of faith.
Find resources for all people involved in a Cross Racial/Cross Cultural appointment including the District Superintendent, the incoming pastor, the SPRC committee, the outgoing pastor, and the local congregation. The resources are intended to help nurture and sustain a healthy, positive appointment for both the pastor and the church.
Rev. Debra Mason
Coordinator of Diversity Development and Inclusion
724-776-2300 ext 2340