The diocese's Racial Justice and Inclusion Tasking Group sent a group of people to the first national conference around intercultural mission hosted by Oxford Diocese in Slough this week.
Intercultural mission is about different cultures working together as participants in God's mission through mutual reflection, celebration and interrogation of differences so that all are understood and all grow to promote mission across ethnic, cultural and racial communities.
The goal of intercultural mission is to be intentional about reaching and integrating all people, regardless of their ethnicity and cultural differences, as they love God and love each other, taken from the scriptural base of Matt 28:19 'Therefore, go make disciples of all nations...'
The Revd Mark Poulson reflected on the meaning of intercultural mission in the Church:
“Interculturalism is not the same as multiculturism. Its not about the passive acceptance and tolerance of multiple cultures in one place. It’s about the dynamic exchange and interchange of cultural capital, individually and corporately. Its not about a cosy, comfortable appreciation of the food, dress and music of others, its about iron sharpening iron.
“The Church as the body of Christ is incomplete without every culture, every people group, every tribe, every language being fully represented."
Guy Hewitt (Church of England Director of Racial Justice) said "We are a church on the move. We have to journey together to get to salvation together. We must understand the communities we live in, and the church can be bridges or barriers to how people see us. Institutional racism is pervasive and we struggle to unlearn what has been filtered through us due to colonisation. However there is an unoging opportunity for reformation and transformation. We as a church need to dare to be different, and not only to apologise for wrongs committed in the fathers name but to learn from that wrong doing to be able to deliver on the Great Commission to all."
It was a joyful and inclusive event, with all attendees joining up to the new Anglican Network of Intercultural Churches, which launched at the conference. Together with a new intercultural mission journal, The Oxford Journal for Intercultural Mission, the ANIC is a resource for churches with congregation or in parishes with UKME or Black Asian Minority Ethnic membership. This resource hopes to build a network of good practice of intercultural mission and worship across the country. It will provide a platform for churches with diverse communities to learn from each other and grow. Membership whilst not limited to these churches, and is open to monocultural churches, who may want to use some of the tools and experience identified to adapt worship delivery or learn from the experience of others.
You can read more about the work of the diocese's Racial Justic and Inclusion task group on our website.
Photo: Gilbert David, Sharon Prentis, Guy Hewitt (Church of England Director of Racial Justice) Rt Revd Dr Tim Wambunya (Conference Chair) Jassica Castillo-Burley, Debbie Parkes and Andy Wynter