United Presbyterian Church of West Orange

Clingan’s Clippings 

by Rev. Dr. Ralph Garlin Clingan

February 2018



Native American Intercultural Congregational Support

     The Native American Congregational Support Office’s purpose is to enable the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to respond to Native American congregational issues, enable Native American Presbyterians to participate actively in the mission of the church, facilitate the church’s task of evangelism and leadership development and serve as a liaison to ecumenical and denominational entities in relation to issues affecting Native American Presbyterian churches and chapels.

    The Native American Congregational Support Office and the Native American Consulting Committee work collaboratively on issues related to Native American ministries.

    The Native American Congregational Support Office is available to assist synods and presbyteries, congregations and others in developing a partnership for new ministry with Native Americans.



Rev. Irvin Porter, Associate for Native American Congregational Support

     Irvin is descended from three Native American tribes: Pima, T’hono O’odham, and Nez Perce.  He is the seventh of eight children raised by a single father after the divorce of his parents. He received an Associate of Arts degree in accounting from Haskell Indian Junior College, now a university, in Lawrence, Kansas.  He worked in banking for 10 years in Idaho, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Dubuque, Iowa in 1997. He is a 2001 graduate of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary receiving his Master of Divinity degree.

    Church of the Indian Fellowship in Tacoma, Washington, called Irvin as a Commissioned Lay Pastor in September 2001. He was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in October 2003 and is the first Native American pastor since the church was founded by a Presbyterian missionary among the Puyallup Indians in 1876. He continues to serve at one-quarter time.

    Irvin’s interest in multicultural ministry stems not only from his pastorate in Tacoma, where he serves a multi-tribal congregation that also includes African Americans, Hispanic and Caucasian members, but also from his work on the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns, the Native American Consulting Committees of both the General Assembly and the Synod of Alaska-Northwest as well as groups within the Tacoma, Washington area, working for increased dialogue between the races.


Doctrine of Discovery

    The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called the church to confess its complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. The action also called for a review of the history of the doctrine and the writing of a report on the doctrine.


            Statement issued by of Presbyterian Church USA, Office of Public Witness


           Submitted by Rev. Ralph Garlin Clingan, PhD, Retired Minister in Residence.