The National Presbyterian Multicultural Network (PMN) hosted dinner Thursday evening (July 5) for commissioners, delegates, and visitors to the 220th General Assembly (2012). Speaking a variety of languages from a variety of cultures, people came to connect with colleagues and learn more about the organization; many attendees had not attended a PMN event previously. Commissioner Anna Maddox (Holston Presbytery) said, “I wanted to see what people did, to get ideas, and take them home to help us.”

The pastor of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Randall Bush, was the keynote speaker at the dinner. Bush offered suggestions for ministry in the midst of a multicultural world. He urged leaders to be honest as they named both those who are present and those who are excluded from their congregations. Bush also challenged people to seek multicultural diversity without words, especially in worship leaders. “A picture in worship is worth one thousand words in theology. A visitor makes up their mind on whether or not they will be welcome by what they see.”

Charlotte Presbytery staff member the Rev. Warren Lesane attended the PMN dinner as a committed member of the network. “This is a visible witness of what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ought to be like. We talk about it in [congregational and presbytery] meetings, but don’t see it really happening.”

Lesane continued, “Those of us who are racial ethnic in the PC(USA) long to see the church live out what it hopes to be. We long to see the church look different because our neighborhoods and communities look different. We long to live into those beautiful statements of faith that we profess.”

Charlotte commissioner, Tina Dean, echoed Lesane’s words. “We still have a lot of racial [tension]… I don’t think we’re there yet. We still have problems relating to each other.” 

Nevertheless, General Assembly Mission Council staff shared stories about the good work happening across the denomination. The Rev. Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women, said The PC(USA) is a better place because of the cross-cultural ministries in our midst.”