The Rev. Debra Mason, who served as WPAUMC Coordinator of Diversity Development and Inclusion on an interim basis from June 1 - August 31, 2020 will continue in the position effective September 1, 2020. The conference personnel Committee selected her after receiving applications through July 7 and interviewing selected applicants via Zoom in August.
“I am thrilled that Debra will be joining the Conference Staff in a permanent position, said the Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, Director of Connectional Ministries. "Over these past few months, Rev. Mason has demonstrated her deep passion and breadth of experience for the ministry of diversity development and inclusion within the framework of the Church. She is both fearless and faithful in a marvelous way!”
Rev. Mason, who served until May 2020 as Seton Hill University’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer, has worked in large corporations, nonprofits, higher education, and as a business owner. A native of Detroit, she relocated to Pittsburgh in 1993 with the Xerox Corporation. She has also served as the Director of the Office of Racial Diversity and Inclusion for the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and started her own firm, Victory Management, in 2004. The organizational management and employee consulting/training business specialized in diversity, leadership, and process improvement.
The highlight of Debra’s career, she said, was when she was appointed pastor of John Wesley UMC in Washington, PA in 2012. Preaching, teaching and providing pastoral care created a desire for her to be in full-time ministry. With a BA from Wayne State University, an MA from University of Phoenix, Debra expects to complete her Master of Divinity degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2021. Rev. Mason will continue serving the John Wesley church in a limited capacity.
The Coordinator of Diversity Development and Inclusion assists the Conference to live more fully into the goal of Dismantling Racism, one of its Five Areas of Focus. Among the responsibilities are developing and facilitating training events that raise awareness of implicit bias and increase cultural competencies, and working with individuals and local church/Conference committees to highlight the importance of diversity in fulfilling the mission of the church. Given the current call for racial justice in our nation and church, Rev. Mason will help lead the Conference in this very critical and timely area of ministry.
The Coordinator 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.