becoming a multiracial church, part 6

Here’s a few thoughts on multicultural churches from a PCUSA perspective, by the denomination’s moderator, Rick Ufford-Chase.

… I’ve spent time in several churches that are making a serious attempt to build a multicultural community. They are diverse in their approaches. One thing that is becoming clear to me is that, like most churches, there are no guarantees of success, and those that are successful know that they can never stop being intentional about their work in building culturally diverse communities.

In order to qualify as multicultural, there must be above twenty percent non European-American members. There are many different models (an anglo church nesting a new or developing church, a church that remains essentially a “traditional” U.S. Presbyterian worship service but has racial diversity, churches that are trying to embrace a variety of cultures in their worship, congregations that are attempting to move with a neighborhood as it shifts from European American to multicultural to an entirely different make-up, congregations that bring a strong focus on trying to work on racism, etc.

There’s also a Postmodern Negro (aka Anthony Smith) and his perspective on Diversity and the Emerging Church.

… I came to this conversation not because I wanted to see “diversity”. Diversity wasn’t the telos that has brought me here. What has brought me here are some of the similar features in my thinking and practice of Christianity and Emergent. Emergent is singing the same song I am singing in many ways. I believe diversity is something that should be intentional but not coerced. … Diversity, in our culture, in many ways, has become somewhat of a ethic of coercion foisted upon the dominant culture. Such an understanding of diversity does not embody the peaceableness of the gospel. Diversity is something, I believe, that is the outworking of participating in the very life of God. When we break bread together, pray together, fuss, fight, dialogue, debate, share our joys, our sorrows together God may see fit to bless with His Spirit to guide our bodies to reflect the sociality of the Father, Son, and the Spirit.

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