A Global Community at the Heart of a Prairie City
Some years ago General Council, the national body of the United Church said they believe God is calling the UC to become a truly intercultural church. Sounds good -but what does it mean? Whatever else it might mean, it does seem to mean Knox.
Knox is in the middle of the most culturally diverse square kilometer in the county, a neighbourhood where refugees and immigrants, original people and settlers have gathered for decades, a neighbourhood of first arrival - God's dream of humans of all languages and colours and customs coming together to form a new community. At the heart of the neighbourhood, Knox has become a truly global community, an intercultural church.
Today no cultural group is in the majority. Our leadership teams include folk whose cultural roots lie in the Philippines, Japan, Bhutan/Nepal, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Jamaica, First Nations, among others. Learning to be a deeply supportive community of respect and care without one group dominating is often challenging. We have to deeply listen. We have to deeply appreciate. We have to love without judgment. Bit by bit, we are getting there.
It’s more than just singing songs in other languages. It’s about making room in our hearts for folk who might look, act, think, pray, sing, and feel differently than we do. It’s about appreciating the wonder of God’s diversity. Our own sense of tradition grows as we are learning to respect all traditions, and learn from these traditions.
Last year the leadership team used this chart to help us understand more clearly what an intercultural community means. We are exploring new ground. We are blessed in the neighbourhood and in church with such rich diversity—but even as we celebrate this, we know it brings great challenges. We are always being forced out of our comfort zones. Come and join the expedition! Enjoy the ride! Appreciate the wonder! God is leading—we get to tag along.