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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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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A Reflection on Women in the Church – Part 1

“FEMININFLUENCE” IN THE MISSION OF GOD - 1

A few weeks ago I shared a short reflection on the outcome of the General Synod vote. In a few days, I will be attending a conference in New Orleans. The theme of the conference is “Let the Church Say Amen: Reconciling Justice and Peace in our World Today”.

As I reflected on the theme I thought of an age-long issue that still seems to challenge some parts of the church, the place of women in the church.

Throughout the long history of the church, women have been marginalized and restricted from playing equal roles in lay and ordained ministries. This sad part of our history causes me to reflect on my life and ministry and the words of Paul who wrote I 1 Corinthians 12:13. “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

I think of my grandmother who was a profound influence in my early faith journey and that of many young people in our neighbourhood. I recall many of them coming to our home on a regular basis, not only for her cooking and baking, but to learn from her. As a single woman, with my parents living in England, she nurtured the faith of her two last daughters and her two grandsons. As I look back, I’m sure that because of her lived experience I grew to value and appreciate the significant role that women have played in my life and my ministry.

I think of my wife who has ministered to me and with me, to our children, to other children, youths, young families and other ministry areas.

I think of the amazing work of the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Auxilliary in Barbados, the Altar Guilds of St. Stephen’s, Downsview, and Holy Trinity, Thornhill, and the tremendous witness of the Anglican Church Women, in general, and that of Holy Trinity, in particular.

I think of the brilliant female theological students I have had the privilege of supervising and mentoring over the years and the hope they offer our church.

I think of the female colleagues of the clergy who offer me fascinating perspectives on an individual basis and in committees.

This has been my experience. When you consider how this experience is multiplied by every person who has been blessed by the ministry of women, one has to wonder, “how could the church get it so wrong?” Let’s remind ourselves with the words of Paul? “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”(Galatians 3:28).

I will conclude this reflection next week.