Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Ministry – Appendix A

Thursday, 14 June 2012

“One Body, many members - Living faith and life cross-culturally”

Introduction
In 1985 the 4th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia declared the UCA to be a multicultural Church. That Declaration contained a number of expectations about what such a declaration means in the day to day life, structures and process of the Uniting Church – see paragraphs 5 to 9. These have not yet been taken up in a comprehensive way across the local, regional and national life of the UCA.

At the 11th Assembly in 2006 a further affirmation was adopted acknowledging that such a church was “For all God’s people”. Arising from those statements and giving shape and purpose to them for the sake of our faithful witness in word and deed, we make the following statement of Christian conviction:

Commitment – giving shape and content to the intent
The 13th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, rejoicing in its diversity of races, cultures, and languages as God’s gracious gifts, calls upon the Uniting Church in Australia in all its settings to be a true multicultural church living its faith and life cross-culturally.

The 13th Assembly recognizes the following as faithful marks of a multicultural church living its faith and life cross-culturally and commits the UCA to shaping its life and witness to God in Christ by them:

A MULTICULTURAL1 CHURCH, LIVING ITS FAITH AND LIFE CROSS-CULTURALLY 2:

1. IN WORSHIP AND RESPONSE TO THE CREATOR GOD: celebrates, confesses and acts out its faith in the one sovereign God who through Jesus Christ binds in covenant faithful people of all races, ethnicities, cultures and languages.

2. RECEIVES CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY AS GOD’S GIFTS AND:

  • embodies these diversities as gracious gifts of the Creator God to the human family,
  • rejoices in the variety of God's grace, and
  • lives out its life and witness cross-culturally as a sign and promise of hope within multicultural, multiracial and multifaith Australia in the 21st century.

3. SPEAKS TRUTHFULLY: as it is called by God through Jesus Christ to acknowledge and confess its sins of racism and to repent and refrain from all acts of racial discrimination and bigotry to the First peoples of this land and to all Second peoples of differing race, culture and language within its own life and practise.

4. EMBRACES THEOLOGICAL RICHNESS AND DIFFERENCE: affirming Christian unity while celebrating the theological, biblical and liturgical richness and difference that arises from its racial, cultural and linguistic diversity.

5. WITHIN THE MISSION OF GOD: responds to God’s call through the Holy Spirit to participate in God's mission of doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God through Christ in all communities, with all peoples, in all places moving towards the fulfilled reign of God which will be multicultural (see Revelation 5:9-10).

6. THROUGH INCLUSIVE MINISTRY:

  • the calling, placement and standing of ministers in the church will be carried out in inclusive, just and equitable ways locally, regionally, nationally, globally and ecumenically, and
  • paying particular attention to the needs of language/culturally specific congregations/faith communities.

7. IN RACIAL JUST STRUCTURES: works to coordinate strategies and involve the entire membership of the church in making justice and equity a reality in the whole of UCA life and structures, in multicultural and multi-faith Australian society, and across the world.

8. ENGAGES IN PROPHETIC ADVOCACY: and public policy development on the issues of racial, social, economic and environmental justice with particular concern as to how these issues impact the quality of life of people of minority communities in Australia and throughout the world.

9. VALUES AND DEVELOPS INTENTIONAL MULTILINGUAL MINISTRIES: by encouraging its ministry leaders in their initial training and continuing education to learn a second language and become familiar with other cultures in order to minister cross-culturally more intentionally, effectively and sensitively.

10. DEVELOPS MULTILINGUAL RESOURCES IN FIRST LANGUAGES: and makes them readily available for use throughout the church. This is in addition to facilitating the translation of all official church documents such as the Basis of Union, Constitution and Bylaws, Creeds or statements of faith into languages that are the first language of people within local congregations and faith communities.

11. IS COMMITTED TO EDUCATION AND FORMATION FOR DISCIPLESHIP: by preparing Christian multilingual education resources consistent with the Basis of Union that are relevant to the diversity of expressions of Christian life and faith, forming and equipping of disciples within the church and to 21st century multicultural, multiracial and multifaith Australia. It provides those resources and training programs in a wide variety of culturally sensitive and appropriate learning, teaching and assessment styles.

12. ENGAGES IN EVANGELISM, AND NEW CHURCH DEVELOPMENT: by developing, supporting and implementing culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies for evangelism and the establishment, development and inclusion of new faith communities and congregations. These will challenge and invite every member of local faith communities and congregations to move beyond traditional comfort zones to live out God’s call in 21st century multicultural and multi-faith Australia, and not simply transplant ways from the ‘home’ environment.

13. PROVIDES MINISTRY AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING APPROPRIATE TO ITS DIVERSITY: and expects its theological colleges and lay education centres to expand curriculum development and educational programs to include awareness and knowledge concerning the rich diversity of cultural heritages, theological traditions, biblical insights that are part of the gifts of the world church, now also part of this increasingly diverse UCA. This process will include diverse teaching and assessment practices that are respectful of the racial, cultural and linguistic diversity of the church.

14. PRACTICES FAITHFUL AND EQUITABLE STEWARDSHIP: through intentional planning and implementation of strategies to help ensure and promote a faithful, just and equitable stewardship and sharing of the gifts of God’s people, and the financial and property resources of the church for the empowerment of all local churches. In particular towards the empowerment of local cultural and linguistically diverse congregations and faith communities that have been marginalized due to racial discrimination in society.

15. PRACTICES AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: by accomplishing specific affirmative action goals and objectives within agreed time frames.

16. MONITORS ACTION AND PROGRESS IN ITS CROSS-CULTURAL LIFE: through the establishment of a body and processes through which to monitor all settings of the church on matters of:

  • cultural and linguistic inclusion and exclusion in the UCA’s worship, witness and service,
  • training and placement of ministry agents and programs, and
  • equitable and just sharing of resources for ministry.

 

 



[1] “Multicultural” is used in this context to indicate the cultural and linguistic diversity that characterise the whole of Australian life. The term is used to describe a reality – we are ‘many’.
[2] The term ‘cross-cultural’ describes our calling by God in Christ as to how to live our lives in respectful relationships with one another across and between cultural boundaries and divides and always under the cross of Christ, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit.