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“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” — Luke 23:42

Self-Development of People (SDOP)
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For more information:

Margaret Mwale
(800) 728-7228, x5792      Send email
Clara Nunez 
(800) 728-7228, x5781    Send email
Teresa Bidart
(800) 728-7228, x5790   Send email

Fax number:

(502) 569-8001

Or write to
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Synods and presbyteries

TheologyHistoryNational Committee │ Synods and presbyteries │ Funded partnershipsSDOP staff

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has regional entities which are also called Middle Governing Bodies (MGB).  All congregations in a geographic area belong to an MGB known as a presbytery.  There are a total of 173 presbyteries.  All the Presbyteries in a geographic area belong to an MGB known as a synod.  There are a total of 17 Synods. All presbyteries and synods together make up the General Assembly, or national Presbyterian Church.

Self-Development of People(SDOP) is a national ministry.  Some presbyteries and synods also have Self-Development of People ministries, which make grants in their areas. If there are SDOP committees in the presbytery and synod in which an applicant is located, the project can simultaneously apply to all three levels (presbytery, synod, and General Assembly/national).

Learning new skills in the Edad de Oro (Golden Age)

Senior development program

By Sally Glover, Chair of the Donegal Presbytery SDOP Committee

People sitting at a table

Members of Edad de Oro. Photo courtesy of Edad de Oro.

Edad de Oro is a group composed mainly of elderly Latinos, laid off, or with disabilities and illnesses living in Lancaster, Pa. As they tried to help each other, they decided to unite their efforts. With a grant from the Donegal Presbytery Self-Development of People Committee, they formed a group that provides mutual help and opportunities to share, learn and develop life and occupational skills to make items that can be sold.

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The Eastminster Presbytery SDOP Committee

By Rev. Jim Ray

The Rev. Jim Ray

The Rev. Jim Ray. Photo by Rami Daud.

There we sat, only five of our 12 member committee, to hear the application from East Side Voices, a group from the east side of Youngstown, Ohio. Illness and other problems had reduced our number for that important gathering but those five came through in true SDOP style. I have often reflected on what took place following the presentation by the East Side Voices folk. There we sat on one side of the table, with responses coming, one after the other, from the five different cultural backgrounds that make up our committee. As the chairperson, and a white male clergy, I thanked them for their presentation and felt they had an interesting proposal in trying to bridge the gap between high school teen agers and senior citizens in a primarily African-American section of the city. I was appreciative of their approach to strengthen their neighborhood, which has been on the decline. then I waited for my Committees response, as I sat at the head of the table.

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How to establish a new SDOP Committee

How to establish a new SDOP Committee

  • Minimum five members
  • Majority racial ethnic
  • Majority Presbyterian denomination
  • Chair must be Presbyterian
  • No waiver available
  • Either a governing body staff person must meet with the committee or the chair must be a clergy person

Workshop (every three years)

  • New committees must have a workshop to be certified.
  • The majority of the members must attend the workshop for it to be valid.

Certification cycle (two years)

  •  The Certification Application needs to be fully completed and readable.
  • The certified committee will receive a letter informing them of the amount available to fund projects for the current year.
  • The committee does not need to resubmit the application for the second year of the certification cycle. A letter will be sent with the amount available to fund projects for that second year.
  • For the next certification cycle the committee will receive a letter informing the date to submit a new Certification Application.


Send to the Louisville office for each funded project:

  • Project Evaluation form
  • Request for Payment form

Deadline: no later than December 31 (every year); preferably by December 15

Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People Task Force Regions by state, synod and presbytery

Download the list

To find out if your Presbytery and/or Synod has a SDOP committee  please call the national SDOP office at our toll free number (800) 728-722, x5782

Synod and presbytery forms

Are you a presbytery or synod SDOP committee member?  If so, please visit the Committee Members (Regional) page to download necessary forms and read about the experience of other presbytery/synod SDOP committees.

Additional Funders

This list of organizations should be contacted directly for more information regarding their funding standards.