New York City – The Students of Color Association (SOCA) at General Seminary invites Christians of all denominations, lay or ordained, to attend their fifth annual Vocations Day on Saturday, April 25. Entitled “Exploring and Discovering Spiritual Gifts: Christian Vocations in the 21st Century,” the free workshop runs from 9:30 to 3:30 in the Seminary’s auditorium. Keynote presenter for the morning session is the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, Priest for Pastoral Care and Nurture at historic Trinity Church, Wall Street (Episcopal). The afternoon keynoter is Dr. Westina Matthews Shatteen, a director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, the International Women's Forum, and KidSpirit. A bilingual celebration of the Eucharist will take place in the Chapel of Good Shepherd at mid-day. Lunch will be provided at no cost to those who register in advance by contacting Caitlin Goodspeed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (212) 243-5150 ext. 269. Please enter at 440 West 21st Street for this event.

Begun in 2005, SOCA’s Vocations Days have drawn hundreds of participants. The event focuses on how people of color within the Episcopal Church and other Christian denominations can discern and realize their call to ministry, lay or ordained. Specially qualified presenters, Q&A sessions, worship, and a tour of the Seminary’s beautiful campus are all part of the popular event. This year the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey’s Passion and Purpose Sunday (4/26) will take place in parishes the following day, so the Seminary will be extending a special invitation to people of color in the Diocese to join in the SOCA event.

The Rev. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones, the first presenter, is experienced in pastoral care, liturgical renewal fostering openness to diversity, spiritual direction, religious education and parish administration. Father Mark, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica and studied as a Jesuit for fourteen years, worked as a missionary in Brazil, Guyana, Belize and Mexico. His multi-cultural experiences enable him to work well with groups and people of varied backgrounds. He has taught at the university level and is the author of Never Say a Mumbalin Word, Spirituals, and the award-winning children's book God Created.

Afternoon presenter Westina Matthews Shatteen, Ph.D. is an accomplished Wall Street executive, author, and public speaker who attributes her success and happiness to “a little faith and the power of the mustard seed.” Raised in the A.M.E. denomination, she is a daughter of the late Rev. Wesley Smith Matthews. Dr. Shatteen has received numerous honors for her achievements in the boardroom and in community service. She is a trustee at the University of Dayton and past president of the New York Women’s Forum. She has served as a Member of the Board of Education for the City of New York, and on numerous boards, including the Ms. Foundation, Wilberforce University, the Arthur Ashe Institute, and the New York Theological Seminary. She is currently working on her fourth book, “Finding God at Starbucks.”

“We hope to see many Episcopal friends from the tri-state area at this wonderful event, especially those from the Diocese of New Jersey and our sisters and brothers from other denominations,” said SOCA representative Karen Davis-Lawson, a senior at GTS. “We are all called to vocation by virtue of our baptism.”

The General Theological Seminary, founded in 1817, prepares women and men for both ordained and lay ministries through a wide variety of degree and certificate programs. Its historic campus in the heart of New York City is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a modern full-service conference facility.

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