In mid-January, the Synod’s highly energized Committee on Representation met to review twelve Robert Washington Scholar applications and to select the first Scholars. This was an extremely competitive process. Getting to three Scholars was not easy. The Scholars program will cultivate executive leadership training by providing resources for robust discernment regarding the Scholars' vocation, call and abilities for service to the Church. The first Scholars will attend the Executive Leadership Certificate Program at McCormick Theological Seminary as well as retreats with Synod staff. We present to you our inaugural Robert L. Washington Scholars!
The Rev. Mario Alberto Bolivar is the Associate Pastor for Technology, Youth, and Family of the Skaneateles Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse.
He was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1984 and is a child of the 7th Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Presbytery of the North Coast of Colombia.
The Rev. Bolivar has a Bachelors Degree in Law from The Simon Bolivar University in Colombia and with the partnership between the Miami Valley Presbytery and the Presbytery of the North Coast of Colombia, he completed his M.Div. from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.
The Rev. Bolivar is a Latino-Hispanic immigrant who knows the value of good education and appreciates this opportunity for higher training with the purpose of increasing and improving the leadership within our denomination. Currently, the Rev. Bolivar serves in his Presbytery as vice-chair of the Leadership Team "Council" and Chair of the Presbytery Youth Connection.
Mario says that "it is a blessing to had been selected for the Robert L. Washington Scholarship, and I will not take this opportunity for granted."
The Rev. Hyon Kim was born in Korea and received his M.Div. from the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in Seoul. Soon after taking ordination exams, he immigrated to the United States for further study where he received a Master of Theology degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. Since 1994 has served two Korean churches in the NY/NJ area and began as the Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Eastern Korean Presbytery (EKP) in January 2017.
While he served EKP as a member and later as the chairperson of COM for 3 years during year 2012-2016, Hyon also served as Steering Committee Chair for the National Pastors Conference of the Korean Caucus. Since 2002 this conference is for current Korean senior pastors to provide further study, fellowship, and inter-movement for better ministry in PC(USA).
These devotional experiences were both exciting and, more importantly, provided Rev. Kim a chance to broaden his concept of ministry for the role of the local church and beyond. Searching a new way to develop his leadership, Rev. Kim was invited to become a Robert Washington Scholar. As a new Executive Presbyter, “I consider the Robert Washington Scholarship to be a blessing and a calling for equipping myself with new leadership skills and look forward to this opportunity.”
The Rev. Terri Ofori is currently serving as the Interim Minister of the United Church of Spring Valley and the College Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life at Bloomfield College. She also serves as the Chaplain to the Synod Commission of the Synod of the Northeast PC(USA) and the Clergywoman Representative for the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Northeast Coordinating Team. She has served congregations throughout New Jersey and as a chaplain at Brown University, Wellesley, Emerson and Simmons College.
The Rev. Ofori received her Th.M in Education and Spiritual Formation and a certificate in Transitional Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary, her M. Div. from Harvard University, and a M.A.T. in Cross Cultural Theology from Columbia International University. She is currently studying Christian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction at Fordham University
The Rev. Ofori, with her husband, are co -founders of the P.A.Y.L.A. (Pan African Youth Leadership Academy), a non- profit organization dedicated to providing academic and leadership development skills to at risk youth. Terri says that "I am honored to have been chosen as a Robert Washington Scholar by the Synod of the Northeast, and I am committed to honoring the legacy of the late Robert Washington and his family."