A Church for All People

Becoming a Multiracial and Multicultural Church Bible Study

The 19th General Synod Pronouncement and Proposal for Action “Calling the United Church of Christ to be a Multiracial and Multicultural Church” was a venture of faith to be a community of and for all people.  A multiracial and multicultural church “confesses and acts out its faith in the one sovereign  God who through Jesus Christ bind in covenant faithful people of all races, ethnicities and cultures…embodying these diversities as gifts to the human family.”

This bible study, “A Church for All People: Becoming a Multiracial and Multicultural Church,” is an invitation for local churches to engage in the journey to embrace in its faith and life, worship and mission, the meaning of being a faith-community of many races and many cultures.  It was first presented by the Reverend James L. Forbes at the April 1994 meeting of the United Church of Christ Implementation Team.  This booklet is the result of the work of a local church resource committee which designed the questions and edited the study into its format. 

Without a clear understanding of the biblical and theological grounding for the vision of diversity and oneness, of a common identity in the context of the whole family of God, the journey toward becoming multiracial and multicultural will never become a living reality.  Hence, this bible study is based on the first ten chapters of the “Acts of the Apostles” – upon the birth, call and journey of the early church to live prophetically as a new people united in one common faith and life in Jesus Christ. 

Additionally, the “Acts of the Apostles” highlights the joys and challenges of living together in new ways across racial and cultural boundaries.  It invites group participants to probe and understand matters of race and cultural as central to the faith and life of the church.  It calls for prayerful reflection and honesty in sharing and discussion.

We are grateful for the witness of the Reverend Doctor James L. Forbes, senior pastor at Riverside Church in New York, New York, who shared the initial study with the church out of the depth of his calling and ministry.