The Reverend Sylvia McDonald-Kaufman is passionate about helping others to experience the fullness of life as persons in service to others. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who has been called to ministry leadership in the parish, as well as ministry settings beyond the church walls. She served as the Stated Supply Pastor of Amistad St. Paul United Church of Christ in Lanham, MD and celebrated the baptism of numerous young souls into Christian service during her 20 months of interim leadership.
Rev. Sylvia has served as Director of Institutional Research and Assessment of the Howard University School of Divinity since June 2005. She administers the school’s institutional research portfolio and has coordinated the School’s continuing education programming and outreach to faith leaders and communities. Prior to this position, she served for two years as Program Manager of Howard University’s historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. In that role she administered the Spiritual and Ethical Dimension of Leadership Initiative that nurtured highly talented college students into seminary for the ordained ministry.
Prior to joining Howard University, Rev. Sylvia served as Minister of Worship and Devotional Life from 2000-2003 at Michigan Park Christian Church of Washington, DC, under the guidance of the senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter.
Her endeavors to live the gospel in the public square were evident during the 106th Congress when Rev. Sylvia served as the Interim Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), then Chair-elect of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). She assisted Congresswoman Johnson with planning of the CBC Foundation’s 30th Annual Legislative Conference. The banner event was attended by the President, Vice President, and more than thirty thousand persons and broke fund-raising records.
In 1993, Rev. Sylvia was appointed as Director of the Office of Strategic Planning, Budget and Program Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Energy. She was a principal advisor to the Secretary of Energy for the Department's overall planning and $21 billion budget strategy. Her office also published the Department's first Strategic Plan and designed the first automated strategic management system.
Concurrent with her service in the Department of Energy, she was appointed as a senior advisor to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA), in Vienna, Austria. She guided the implementation of strategic initiatives for improving the representation of women in the Agency's programs and senior management, and led its diplomatic efforts throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. These bilateral missions produced the IAEA’s first agreements on gender equity. In 1995 she co-chaired the IAEA delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
Rev. McDonald-Kaufman practiced law and held management positions with Xerox Corporation in strategy, international marketing and sales training. She began her 11-year tenure with Xerox as the first woman of color to be hired as an attorney in the company's history.
She is an alumna of Howard University, earning the Master of Divinity degree in 2003. In 1982, she received a Juris Doctor degree from the Florida State University College of Law and a B.S. degree in Government from Florida State University in 1979.
Rev. Sylvia is humbled and inspired by the incomparable love for the church and God’s people, and the exemplary scholarship displayed by her seminary teachers, ministry colleagues and friends over the course of her amazing faith journey. Her husband of 12 years, Mr. Earl Kaufman, and she are new members of Covenant Baptist UCC. They have been foster parents of three precious children: Tony, Siesha and Fred.