With great joy and thanksgiving to God, I am thrilled to announce with the Executive Board that Rev. Kenneth Young has been promoted to the role of Associate Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches.
You know this, Church, but Rev. Kenneth is a gift to the whole body of Christ. Over the past two and a half years of his leadership at the Massachusetts Council of Churches, he has led major initiatives that have both dug deep into our history and pushed into God’s expansive future. Rev. Kenneth had the prophetic vision and the pastoral insight to know, far before anyone was publicly talking about the New York Times’ 1619 Project, that the Church needed to mark 400 Years of Black Resiliency. Under his watch, we gathered Black church leaders from across the Commonwealth to remember, mourn, educate, commemorate and celebrate all the moments of resurrection from Black Christians in every single corner of this Commonwealth, in every generation.
I want you all to hear from me that I believe Rev. Kenneth is essential to the future of this institution. He brings questions I don’t have and wisdom I can’t see. Rev. Kenneth is a joy to work with and exceedingly well-regarded by his colleagues. I am honored that Rev. Kenneth would choose to bring his many gifts to this institution in service to Christ. I have learned in new and profound ways this year, with the staff team and board of MCC, why Jesus sends the disciples out in small groups of two and three and four. With Rev. Kenneth and Rev. Carrington, with the Board and so many of you, we are stronger together in Christ. We are braver. We are more faithful together.
And as we make this staffing change, I want to also confess my own and this institution’s continuing systemic racism. Rev. Kenneth, and prior to him, Rev. Darryl Lobban, were hired into the role of “Director of External Relationships” while Rev. Meagan Manas served as “Director of Internal Relationships.” When we first restructured, this internal/external division of labor seemed like a good way to have one person focus on the relationships with member denominations we already knew, internal to the institution and one person focus on cultivating new relationships with parts of the Church we did not yet know. Now, I can see that this structure is racist, not in intent but in practice, and thus, sinful and damaging to both colleagues, kin in Christ and our witness to a God who reconciles all things through Christ Jesus. By hiring two Black colleagues into the role of “Director of External Relationships,” we perpetuated the insidious idea that we were trying to undo: that Blackness, Black churches and churches of color are external to the MCC and to the Church. I am truly sorry, both to Rev. Kenneth, to Rev. Darryl and to all whom we wounded. Humbly, we hope in restructuring our staffing model, we are beginning some work of repair.
In the days ahead, we will plan for Rev. Kenneth’s installation into his new role and a great celebration. I trust you will receive him with the honor and respect he is due as a beloved child of God and an incredibly talented and devoted pastor. Please join me in praying for Rev. Kenneth is this transition, his wife Adrianne as she begins her PhD program at Tufts and his daughters.
Join me in rejoicing in Rev. Kenneth’s promotion to Associate Director and pray for us all!
Rev. Laura Everett