How can we better understand cultural difference? How can we gain tools and attitudes for ministry in culturally diverse settings? How do we look at our own power and privilege?
Some United Church people have been exploring these questions and more through the Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry program. This six-day workshop offered by our ecumenical partner, Canadian Churches' Forum, offers practical ideas and is ideal for Christian ministry leaders. The United Church works with Forum staff to shape the content, and United Church members receive some financial subsidies to attend. Each participant leaves with the commitment to lead an intercultural project in their own community.
One past participant shared that “I grew in self-awareness and grew in my capacity to be in right relationship with God's people.” Another reflected that the program was an “essential foundation for beginning to grasp the inherent complexities of who we are, who we are called to be, and how we are called to join each other in true Beloved Community.” Many note that the program is a transformative experience.
United Church staff continue to connect and support participants after the event as they do follow-up work. After returning home, the energized participants are leading workshops, networking, and organizing gatherings in their regions; some are exploring intercultural worship in their local communities of faith. The result is fuller participation of the rainbow people of God in church life.
We are thankful that our gifts for Mission & Service make programs like Deepening Understanding of Intercultural Ministry possible!
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