At the June 2018 Mission & Ministries Commission meeting, the Synod celebrated the success and accomplishments of the inaugural Robert Washington Scholars cohort. It has been a privilege to journey with these gifted leaders and we are thrilled they are using their gifts in service to the Church!
During the celebration, the Synod’s Committee on Representation, which reviews applications and selects participants for the Robert L. Washington Scholars program each year, joyfully announced the members of the 2018-2019 cohort. We are delighted to introduce to you RE Luci Duckson-Bramble and Rev. Erin Hayes-Cook, both of whom are outstanding leaders as well!
RE Luci Duckson-Bramble
As a girl growing up in Philadelphia, Luci developed a strong sense of service to others. Her parents, especially her mother, fostered the notion of helping others. Both her parents always extended a helping hand to neighbors and community residents, while raising their own children.
For Luci, serving others started with community service as a Girl Scout and continued with her church youth group and volunteering at a local hospital. Her passion for others continued during college where she worked with youth in the town of Carlisle. By the time she graduated, she knew she wanted a career helping those in need. And, through the years, she has used her time, talent, and treasures to support many. Her passion has been mentoring or guiding youth.
Luci counts her current job as Chief Fund Development Officer for Girl Scouts of Nassau County as a blessing. It gives her the chance every day to make a difference in the lives of close to 19,000 girls and young women. Now more than ever, girls need a safe place where they can gain leadership skills to help them reach their highest potential. Luci has raised over five million dollars in the past 14 years helping to make programs and activities possible for any girl wishing to participate in Girl Scouts regardless of her financial limitations.
Luci’s other passion is serving the Presbyterian Church, both locally and regionally. She is currently the Clerk of Session at Christ’s First Presbyterian Church, Chair of the Long Island Presbytery’s Self Development of People Committee, moderator of the Glenwood Administrative Commission, a member of the Presbytery’s Salt & Light Committee and the Shepherding Council, and Co-Moderator of the Synod of the Northeast’s Committee on Representation. This June she will be a Commissioner to the 223 General Assembly and Moderator of the Committee on Peacemaking, Immigration, and International Issues.
Luci is thrilled to be selected as a Robert Washington Scholar. Participation in this leadership program is the right thing at this time. It will give her the opportunity to explore and develop spiritually in an academic environment.
It will also give her an opportunity to work collaboratively with diverse scholars who are interested in developing skills to lead in other areas of the denomination. And, as a Ruling Elder, she will be equipped to explore leadership roles at the Presbytery level. Serving the larger church is a goal in her future.
Luci has served the community through a number of organizations including the National Coalition of Black Women, the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Soroptimist International Nassau County, and Long Island Women’s Agenda. She holds a BA from Dickinson College, a MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work, and an MPH from Columbia University School of Public Health. She and her husband have one son.
Rev. Erin Hayes-Cook
Rev. Erin Hayes-Cook is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Rahway, NJ. First Presbyterian church is a multi-cultural, welcoming and affirming congregation in the New York metro area. She also currently serves as Moderator of the Presbytery of Elizabeth. In the past she has served on the cabinet, the committee for multicultural engagement, and a team to help restructure the presbytery. Most recently, she served as a member of Newark Presbytery's Administrative Commission. And she is proud to say that last summer she served on a planning team for the youth conference at the Montreat Conference Center.
A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary ('05), she served two churches in the Philadelphia area as a youth director and director of Christian education. At the heart of her ministry is loving communities who find themselves in the middle of transition, cultures, and more. Growing up bi-racial gave her these skills. She became a minister in the Presbyterian church in 2013. As she grew up and was trained early on in the Baptist church, she knows how to navigate the waters of the ecumenical and multi-cultural world.
In her time off you will find her at her Crossfit Box and coffee shops nearby.
With her participation in the Robert Washington Scholars program, Erin is excited to learn more skills on how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of leadership in our context. She is also excited to get to know other leaders who may be facing similar challenges and joys, and with whom she can become thinking partners.