I’ve recently returned from a fruitful week in Perth assisting the WA Synod with a Cross Cultural workshop and conference which together involved more than 50 people learning how to work together as a multicultural church.
It was a time rich in learning and sharing. Best of all, it opened the way for new possibilities, connections and networking with many leaders and congregations in the WA Synod.
Theological Hall in Perth organised the two-day Cross Cultural Relationships Workshop. Fourteen participants were UCA ministers, candidates for ministry or ministers from other denominations who serve in the UCA.
Four facilitators – Rev. Jason Kioa (Vic/Tas Synod), Kemeri Lievano and Sam Chan (both SA Synod) and myself – travelled to the conference from interstate. We worked together with a local team who were training to be facilitators for following workshop.
By the end of the two days, participants felt they’d gained new insight into ministry within a multicultural church. One participant, a minister from Indonesia and UCA candidate, shared how important the workshop had been in providing encouragement to continue working with diverse communities within the UCA.
At the end of the workshop, participants decided the actions they wanted to take, such as listening more deeply to those with a different point of view or finding ‘a new language’ to express the Gospel in different communities. Importantly, they committed to supporting each other to achieve their goals.
On Palm Sunday weekend, Jason Kioa and myself led the two day Intercultural Conference. Among the 35 congregation members and leaders who attended, 10 different CALD communities were represented. WA Moderator Rev. Steve Francis also attended the first day of the conference.
We worshipped together on Palm Sunday with members of Noranda Uniting Church. The church was full and the spirit of joy was high. Tongan, Samoan, Karen (Burmese) and Indonesian communities participated in the worship.
During the visit, I had the opportunity to meet with the Moderator and General Secretary Rev. David de Kock and spent a day with Rev. Dr Emanuel Audisho, the Synod Intercultural Consultant to hear more about the life of multicultural ministry in WA.
Returning home, I felt important steps were made towards creating a space for grace in the WA Synod where every group is acknowledged as God’s gift for all people.