RCRC Announces Election
Of Reverend Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers as Board Chair
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) Board of Directors is pleased to
announce the election of Reverend Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers as Chair of the RCRC Board. RCRC is the national coalition of religious and religiously affiliated organizations from 15 faith traditions with official positions in support of women’s reproductive rights, including access to abortion services and birth control.
Reverend Smith-Withers, a resident of Washington, DC, is a long-time advocate for reproductive justice. She has worked with RCRC since 1993, including as a member of the board, a member of the Black Church Initiative Advisory Committee, an All-Options counselor, a representative at high-level Congressional events, and a media spokesperson.
Reverend Smith-Withers is the founder and Pastor of The Pavilion of God – a Baptist Community, a multicultural church in the nation’s capital. The Pavilion of God has roots in the historic Nineteenth Street Baptist Church where she was the first woman Associate Pastor. Prior to that, she served as minister at other congregations in the Washington, DC, area.
As an active member of the RCRC Woman of Color Partnership, Reverend Smith-Withers was among the first RCRC Black Church Initiative Fellows and participated in the National Black Religious Summits on Sexuality sponsored by RCRC. Her knowledge and experience in the areas of organizational development, cultural competency, and liberation theology have enabled her to establish innovative programs that promote diversity dialogues among varied constituents. Within her urban and family ministry work, she has become well known as a “barrier-breaker” and “bridge-builder.”
In 2010, Reverend Smith-Withers became a breast cancer overcomer. In the fight against breast cancer, she started her own blog, http://BlessedBreasts.com.
Reverend Smith-Withers has earned the Masters of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees from Howard University School of Divinity. She is an ordained minister, preacher, and Christian educator and was awarded a Pew Foundation Fellowship in Urban Ministry. She is married to Charles Withers, who serves in the ministry with her as an ordained deacon. Together they have one son, a physician at Duke Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, a beloved daughter-in-law, and a precious granddaughter.
Transition at RCRC