I just got back from my denomination’s National Youth Event! What an inspirational time it was for all who had the opportunity to attend. Worship, workshops and the fellowship were wonderful. The best part for me was the array of beautiful colors of the young people who attended. It was truly an Intercultural and Multiethnic experience. What I mean is that we each saw the beauty of the various ethnic cultures that make up the United Church of Christ (UCC) all in the same place—singing, worshipping, reflecting and playing together as one united church. Praise God for such a beautiful experience of God’s amazing people. Hearts were touched, lives were changed and God’s love was shared in so many wonderful ways.
It has been 19 years since the UCC passed the Multiracial and Multicultural Pronouncement calling the denomination in its various settings to become a Multiracial and Multicultural Church. In the last few years we have been working diligently to review, evaluate, and envision this ministry for its future. As the denominational headquarters begins its strategic planning for the future, we’ve realized the importance of creating a focused effort that will begin to address the Intercultural and Multiethnic reality that has begun to form in our communities so that we can best assist our churches for ministry in the 21st century. One of our priorities is a strategy named “Intercultural Ministries Soar.” This priority means we will be intentional about living out the vision of an Intercultural and Multiethnic Church (I’M Church). Our neighborhoods, our communities, and the face of America are changing. In fact they have already changed. Therefore we must begin to reflect a new identity which represents an Intercultural and Multiethnic reality.
This new initiative “Intercultural Ministries Soar” will enable us to come together as one united church in “confession, reconciliation, celebration, hope and love.” As we continue to be faithful to our call to be an Intercultural and Multiethnic Church, we look to identify congregations that have already been doing this work to become the teaching congregations for others considering becoming I’M Churches. We hope to begin this work very soon and would love to hear from congregations that have already been living into an Intercultural and Multiethnic reality. Please be in touch to help us establish a network of congregations ready to assist and to engage one another in this important work. Our goal is to build lasting partnerships that will celebrate and lift up the various ethnicities, cultures and the diversities which make-up our congregations and ministries.
Experience has taught us that this form of ministry can be challenging. However, we also recognize that we must be open to change how we currently “do” church. We can begin to change our understanding one church at a time, and together we can be the Intercultural and Multiethnic Church God is calling us to become. Remember, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here in the United Church of Christ.
The United Church of Christ has 5,194 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.