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Director of Spiritual Life at Bloomfield College Named First Robert L. Washington Scholar

rev. terri ofori

By Alicia Cook

Rev. Terri Ofori, the College Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life at Bloomfield College, was one of three chosen as a Robert L. Washington Scholar by the Synod of the Northeast.

"I am honored to have been chosen as a Robert Washington Scholar and I am committed to honoring the legacy of the late Robert Washington and his family," said Rev. Ofori. “I am especially grateful to be the first woman, and a woman of color, in the Synod to receive this honor.”

Robert (Bob) Lee Washington was a teacher, preacher, and activist. He dedicated his life to teaching, and creating opportunities to further the church, civil rights, and economic equality. In the Presbyterian Church, he served in all levels: at the General Assembly, the Synod of the Northeast, the Presbytery of New York City, and the Session of Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church in Harlem, NY. It is in his memory and honor that this program has been established. 

In mid-January, the Synod’s Committee on Representation met to review 12 Robert L. Washington Scholar applications and to select the inaugural group of Scholars. An extremely competitive process, the Committee was looking for Scholars who possess a strong commitment to exploring innovative ways of being gospel communities, are excited to lead gospel communities through the changing landscape of mainline Christianity, are interested in middle governing body leadership, and hold a desire to engage in personal and ecclesiastical transformation.

The Robert L. Washington Scholars program will provide resources for robust discernment regarding vocation, call, and abilities of service for the Church. Each year funding will be provided for three Scholars, which includes training through an approved leadership formation program.

The first Scholars chosen were Rev. Ofori; Rev. Mario Alberto Bolivar, the Associate Pastor for Technology, Youth, and Family of the Skaneateles Presbyterian Church; and Rev. Hyon Kim, who has served two Korean churches in the NY/NJ area and began as the Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Eastern Korean Presbytery in January 2017. These three Scholars will attend the Executive Leadership Certificate Program at McCormick Theological Seminary as well as retreats with Synod staff. 

Apart from her Bloomfield College duties, Rev. Ofori currently serves as the Interim Minister of the United Church of Spring Valley, 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 and Wellesley. Rev. Ofori also served as Director of the Harvard University Memorial Church School under the tutelage of the late Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes

The Rev. Ofori received her Th.M in Education and Spiritual Formation and a certificate in Transitional Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. She later received 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

Rev. Ofori, alongside her husband, Dr. David Ofori, 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.