We’ve just had a Multicultural Ministry Networking Day, held at Highway church, Stratford, which had a good buzz of leaders sharing their experiences. Invitations were sent to church and ministry leaders in the London area, and we were encouraged when twenty came, with apologies from another thirty.
The afternoon began with a social time of meeting one another as we shared some refreshments! Bob welcomed everyone and gave a short introduction to the day.
Mary then shared a short devotional emphasising that it is the Love of Jesus that destroys barriers between us! ( see Teaching blog article, A Barrier Breaking God) God has called us to be together with no divisions like in marriage. A couple sleeping separately instead of together just doesn’t seem to be God’s ideal!
Bob and Mary talked about their experiences in Multicultural ministry over the last twenty years or so on campus and in church.Our aim was to be very practical and share the things that particularly worked for us.
David Anderson in his book, Multicultural Ministry quotes a sceptical church growth expert saying, ‘I have never seen a racially mixed church grow without one culture having to die. If there are blacks and whites in the church, then one of the cultures died within the church’ . In small groups we discussed whether it was even possible to be multicultural rather than monocultural in the way we do church. There were some interesting points raised e.g. Can a church containing several different cultures be called multicultural or is there more to it? More than one group felt that probably all the cultures needed to die in some ways to become a truly united church. David Anderson concluded the same and now has a thriving Multicultural church in New Jersey.
Jess Evans then shared about Alpha for ESOL and encouraged us to use this resource which is still being tested out. Contact Jess for details. Mary and I are on our second time through with this material, and feel it has a wide application. See our Multicultural Ministry blog article on this work in Harold Hill.
The sharing of resource ideas included:- David Anderson, Multicultural Ministry: Sarah Lanier, Foreign to Familiar : United Reform Church, Multicultural Ministry Toolkit: Janet Fraser-Smith, Love across the Latitudes (workbook for cross-cultural couples): The Friends International website friendsinternational.org.uk : Edmund Aruofor recommended The Purple Book as a good discipleship resource.
It was encouraging to hear other leader’s experiences including Edmund Arouforo (Every Nation church) who shared how their church has an Open door where all are accepted into their Sunday meeting which is more of an Experience than a regular Service, and how they are holding workshops on understanding and loving Muslims in their community. Andrew Muwowo (Friends International) talked about the success of The Meet and Greet at Heathrow Airport for new students arriving in UK for the first time. We then spent a short, but fruitful, time in small groups discussing practical ways of reaching out to the community in a multicultural context.
We finished by praying with one another about the next step in our personal multicultural journey.
Those attending werre:
Abi Willetts, Ichthus New Life Church in Greenwich
Alastair Steven, Friends International,
Andrew Holmes and Edmund Aruofo. Every Nation Stratford
Andrew Muwowo, Field Director ( London and East Anglia ), Friends International
Bob and Mary Bain, Welcome Network
Charles Mugenyi, Woodberry Down Baptist Church
Chas and Nicola Woods, Across the Bridge.
Duane Parris partnering with Rob Purnell to build a multinational community of believers in Wickford.
Geoff Low, Friends International
Godwin and Valerie Oshiobugie, AFM (Atmosphere of Fire & Miracle Ministries)
Ife Igunnobole, Catalyst Trust
Jeanette Meadway, St.James Church, Stratford
Jess Evans, Alpha for ESOL
Niyi Ayandokun. Goodnews Church, Harold Hill, Romford
Rob Purnell, New Life Church, Wickford and South Woodham Ferrers
Simon Clinton, HighwayChurch, Stratford