When hundreds of Presbyterians gather in Ft. Worth, Texas, from July 31-Aug. 3 for the National Multicultural Church Conference, they will experience in — and with — each other a foretaste of the Biblical vision of a united community, which welcomes, celebrates and incorporates God’s people of all cultures and languages in one place.
“People are exposed to diversity on a daily basis in almost every area of life,” said the Rev. Jin S. Kim, founding pastor at Church of All Nations in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, and a member of the conference leadership.
“Imagine going to a music concert and only seeing one ethnic group in any of the bands, or watching a contemporary film with a cast of only one racial background,” Kim said. “What is especially jarring to the millennial generation and younger is that they don’t experience monoculture in hardly any area of their life, but then when they go to church, that’s where they see it.”
The National Multicultural Church Conference is all about changing that paradigm by providing congregational leaders with essential resources and training to embrace racial and cultural diversity, to witness and encounter all who are among us and to minister effectively in rapidly changing communities.
Kim said that when young adults — or prospective new members from any generation — visit Church of All Nations, the “disconnect” that they so often feel between the church and society at large virtually evaporates.
The congregation’s membership is approximately 50 percent European American, 25 percent Asian American and 25 percent a combination of African American, African immigrant, Latino-a, Native American, and other ethnocultural groups — with 25 groups represented overall.
“They say, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for for a long time but didn’t know existed,’” said Kim.
The conference — which will be held at the historic Hilton Fort Worth — will feature nationally and internationally acclaimed church leaders, seminary professors, writers and ecumenical and political leaders. Its theme, “Journeying and Awakening into God’s Diverse World,” conveys a commitment on the part of churches who seek to embrace diversity with greater intentionality.
“As the church, we get to do diversity with tremendous intention — with historical background, with ethical considerations, through a Biblical perspective, and through our call as disciples of Jesus Christ,” Kim said. “Where else can we do diversity through those various perspectives which really deepen our understanding of being part of God’s household?”
Click here to register for the National Multicultural Church Conference.