Intercultural Ministries

Intercultural Ministries in The United Church of Canada: Faithfully Challenging White Privilege

Adele Hallday, The United Church of Canada General Council Office
Stephen Fetter, Forest Hill United Church, Toronto
HyeRan Kim-Cragg, St. Andrew's College, Saskatoon

At our Conference in November ALLLM is sponsoring three workshops in addition to the reception with Diana Butler Bass. In this edition of the newsletter we're pleased to highlight this workshop from The United Church of Canada.

The United Church of Canada has embraced a commitment to intercultural ministries to combat racial injustice and to challenge White privilege and Eurocentric culture. There is a clear theological and pedagogical basis for the work, as well as practical methods for implementation. In this workshop, three leaders from that denomination will reflect on how the focus on intercultural ministries is changing their congregations, theological schools, denominational decision-making, and understandings of mission and ministry, and will describe what they each do to educate and nurture this development.

Adele Halliday will describe the history and development of The United Church of Canada’s vision for intercultural ministries, with particular focus on: (1) why this vision has become a denominational priority, (2) the practices, processes, and programs she and her team use to nurture this vision within the denomination, and (3) some evaluation of the impact this work is having. She will also explore some of the foundational work that led the denomination to declare intercultural ministries as a priority, some of the practical programs that have been put into place, and the various ways the church has been trying to challenge White privilege in various aspects of its work.

Stephen Fetter will describe the 15-year journey his congregation has been on to move from being “accidentally multi-cultural” to “intentionally intercultural.” Forest Hill United Church in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada is a fascinating mix of people with Caribbean, East Asian, Eastern European, and White backgrounds, with a handful of folks from different countries in Africa and elsewhere as well. He’ll focus on three specific strategies that he and his Board members have used to enhance intercultural ministry in this context, and provide examples of activities designed to enhance each strategy. (1) Intentional focus on hospitality and belonging, including ways to celebrate each person’s place within the community, an emphasis on curiosity rather than judgement, and a wide variety of activities designed to enhance and strengthen relationships that cross cultural boundaries. (2) Intentional and on-going conversations about cross-cultural relationships and respect, including ways to enhance Worship, committee make-up, decision-making, and celebrations. (3) Development of ministries that emerge from the gifts and backgrounds of the people actually sitting in the pews, including ministries to strengthen internal relationships and a refugee sponsorship program.

HyeRan Kim-Cragg will offer reflection on intercultural ministries that is happening at congregational levels in the province of Saskatchewan. She will also share reflections about her work as a professor of theology at a United Church theological school: St Andrew’s College in Saskatoon. St Andrew’s is an inclusive and justice-seeking educational institution; at this school, HyeRan offers continuing education work to lay and ordered on the issue of race and colonialism, which is connected to intercultural ministry.