Reflections on Cultural Diversity – Part 2

ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY – PART 2

One of our major takeaways from early diocesan multicultural initiatives was that these were “by and for” the “so-called” minority groups. This view will not square with the missional thrust of the church going forward. It will not support success. And the issue cannot be avoided because immigration and resettlement of refugees will keep it at the forefront. Therefore much work remains to be done to ensure that our church addresses the issue comprehensively, and that its structures reflect the diversity of the community it serves.

The Moseley Report, which was based on a two-year study project and a series of studies initiated by our diocese “to make sense of the rapidly changing urban scene in Canada”, and endorsed by General Synod, called on Anglicans to “embrace the Spirit of Pentecost and overcome their fear of their fellow citizens in the household of God.” It also challenged the church to “rejoice in the cultural richness of the worldwide Anglican Communion and cherish the links Canadian Anglicans can have with the worldwide church through those who have immigrated here.”

Regrettably, 24 years later, only those who were around at the time or intimately involved in this work make mention of this report. General Synod’s policy on Multiculturalism, the outcome of this report, is hard to find on the national church’s website. While some dioceses have embarked on their own programs to address diversity in their parishes, much more remains to be done.

The work of the No Longer Strangers Project of the late 1990s and early 2000s was a sea change in our diocese. This work was the subject of the Report of the Ethnic Ministry Consultation Committee to the College of Bishops of the Diocese of Toronto (2011) provides a way forward.

This report notes that emphasizing the diversity of cultures is only a beginning. The vision of the report is that, as a diocese, “we go beyond multiculturalism and strive to become an intercultural church”. In the words of the report “by this we mean a church that respects, celebrates and opens up to people of all cultures, that risks crossing cultural boundaries, is sensitive to power differences and is aware of the potential for racial injustice.” To do this, the report makes 24 recommendations.

The Mission of God in our diocese cannot succeed without our commitment to the embrace the diversity which is the reality of our context. In the words of the 2011 Report “we must remain committed to stay closely involved with the lives of all members of our church, to be open to and encourage all who would contribute to the Diocese’s growth in mission, and to seek to break down barriers so that we can find unity in our diversity.”

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2016

 

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