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3 Ohio Congregations Merge to Create One Multiethnic Church

Three Ohio congregations largely consisting of different ethnic groups — Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic — have merged together to make one multiethnic church.

Norwood Church of Christ, Madisonville Church of Christ, and Iglesia de Christo came together to form Indian Mound Avenue Church of Christ on New Year’s Day.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday, Indian Mound Avenue lead Pastor Greg Jasper explained that the three congregations were already sharing the same building in advance of the merger, as they all met separately at Norwood Church of Christ.

“Once I became affiliated with these groups and eventually became the senior minister to the predominately African-American congregation, I saw an opportunity as a biracial person to try to unite these three groups,” said Jasper.

“I began to make efforts for discussions on how to accomplish this. And in time God made it crystal clear that what was best for His Kingdom and what was best for all three groups was that we unite as one congregation and no longer be three congregations sharing a building.”

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Free Methodist Church’s history as a multicultural, multiracial movement

Mosaix Strengthens Multiethnic Church

by Jeff Finley (Light + Life Magazine, November 2016)

Free Methodists played a key role as more than 1,200 people gathered Nov. 1–3 at NorthWood Church near Dallas, Texas, for the Mosaix Multiethnic Church Conference. The Free Methodist Church – USA was a gold sponsor of the conference that occurs every three years.

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Matthew Thomas shared a brief history of the Free Methodist Church. While some participating denominations had to repent of past support for slavery and segregation, Thomas told how Free Methodists have a long history as a “multicultural, multiracial movement” supporting freedom, equality and unity. “We were birthed as an abolition movement,” he said.

Some of the conference’s participating denominations continue to exclude women from pastoral ministry, and their speakers discussed racial and ethnic equality without mentioning gender. In contrast, Thomas said, “The founder of the Free Methodist Church back in the late 1800s wrote a book that was very unique for its time. The title of the book was ‘Ordaining Women.’ There was a lot of controversy behind it, but it created that kind of multiculture, multigender, multiethnic type of feel and then started empowering lay people to go out into all the world, plant churches, start small groups, and they did that in groups called lay Pentecost bands. So by the turn of the 1900s, we had about as many people overseas as we did here.”

Thomas shared that 94% of Free Methodists churches currently are outside the United States, and this nation’s Free Methodists are increasingly diverse.

“In the Free Methodist Church in the United States, 28 languages are spoken,” the bishop said. “Our churches are becoming more and more multiethnic, multicultural, and we’re grateful to be a part of what’s going on in the world. We’ve got a long way to go, but things are really going well on many fronts.”

Read the full article at Light + Life Magazine >>

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Wesleyan pastors and leaders talk about multiethnic ministry within churches

“11 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is credited with this statement, although history teaches it was actually Helen Kenyon who said it first in 1952 during an annual Christian Frontiers forum of the Women’s Society of Riverside Church in New York City.

Almost 64 years have passed since her statement and it still remains true. The lack of diversity is heartbreaking. We, as The Wesleyan Church, pursue a different narrative—one that begins with discipleship and church multiplication.

In recent days, over 85 Wesleyan pastors and leaders gathered in Dallas, Texas, to join 1,300 others as part of the third annual Mosaix Conference, a multiethnic church event. To date, this was the largest gathering of multiethnic church pioneers and practitioners in North America.

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Given the denomination’s history, it is within the DNA of The Wesleyan Church to be on the frontlines of this movement. Unfortunately, that narrative changed during the Civil Rights movement and we were mostly absent. The question remains: What will history say about us when it is written about this next season of church history? Our prayer is that we, as The Wesleyan Church, will return to our roots, live out the gospel, resist the temptation of pursuing our comforts more than our calling and simply watch God move.

Church Multiplication and Discipleship (CMAD) of The Wesleyan Church will continue to roll out several new initiatives such as Multiethnic Innovation and Learning Labs and Monday Multiethnic Moments, as well as continue our Multiethnic Conversations Cohorts. Join the Wesleyan Multiethnic Movement Facebook group to hear more and to continue the conversation.

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Local Pastors Reach Across Racial Divides in Springfield, Illinois

Local pastors reach across racial divides to share faith, perspective
by Dean Olsen (The State Journal-Register, Oct. 17, 2015)

A half-century after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. lamented that 11 a.m. Sunday is “the most segregated hour” in America, local pastors whose races are different from most members of their flocks are learning and teaching how to bridge the racial divide.

“For the most part, most persons will receive you, but it takes time,” the Rev. Robert Freeman said. “I think it takes some getting used to on both sides.”

 

… Roger Dennis said he feels called by God to tend to the spiritual needs of blacks, especially those who have dealt with financial hardships. He said he and his wife, who have survived bankruptcy, can relate to the struggle.

“This is where we come from,” said Dennis, a Springfield native who lived in the Chicago area and Texas before returning in 1991. “Black is just a color. We just love people.”

The work that Freeman and the Dennises are engaged in makes them unique because the voluntary segregation that the slain civil rights icon referred to in the 1960s continues in 2015, with some movement but not substantial change.

About eight in 10 Americans attending religious services do so in a place where a single racial or ethnic group makes up at least 80 percent of the congregation, according to the 2012 National Congregations Study. The segregation began after the Civil War, when blacks fled the “slave galleries” where slaves and freed blacks were expected to pray in the same churches as whites.

Read the full article at sj-r.com >>

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62% of large Canadian churches are multiethnic

This press release from Leadership Network, “Church for a New Generation? Large Canadian Churches Are Growing, Reaching Young Families, Drawing 1 of Every 8 Protestant Churchgoers” highlighted this finding:

These congregations are also racially diverse. In terms of ethnicity, if multiethnic is defined as a church with no more than 80% of one race, then 62% of large Canadian churches are multiethnic.

This comes from its research of large Canadian churches, as the press release introduced:

On any given weekend, an estimated 300,000 people across Canada participate in the kind of church that draws 1,000 or more in weekly attendance. That’s about 1 of 8 people who went to a Protestant church. Even in cities where sizable portions of the population check “no religion” on their household surveys, these predominantly evangelical congregations are growing, reaching out, and focused on serving children and youth.

These breakthrough discoveries come from a first-ever effort to conduct a national study of the country’s largest-attendance churches, an initiative sponsored by a large coalition of Canadian scholars and evangelical ministries, along with the U.S.-based Leadership Network, which does similar research in its country.

The 12-page, illustrated executive summary is available to download free at leadnet.org/canada courtesy of two sponsors, D.L. Deeks Insurance Services, Inc. (deeksinsurance.ca) and Pushpay (pushpay.com).

The 2015 Large Canadian Church Report has this to say about multiethnic diversity of

In terms of ethnicity, if multiethnic is defined as a church with no more than 80% of one race, then 62% of large Canadian churches are multiethnic. This level is considerably higher than among large churches in the United States. According to one study there, the larger the church, the more likely to be multiethnic, with 31% of megachurches being multiethnic. Megachurches also show “a considerable mix of economic groups spanning a range of household incomes from just above poverty … to upper class.”

Go to leadnet.org/canada to download the 2015 Large Canadian Church Report and also watch the video of the virtual press conference, Big News about Canada’s Biggest Churches​, with lead researcher Warren Bird, Ph.D. of Leadership Network and co-researcher Joel Thiessen, Ph.D., of Ambrose University, and author of The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age​.

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Springfield Churches in Ohio Merge to Break Down Racial Walls

Springfield churches merge to break down racial walls
by Tiffany Y. Latta (Springfield News-Sun — October 2, 2015)

It has been said that Sunday at 11 a.m. is the most segregated hour of the week in America.
But that will change for two local churches — one predominately white, the other African-American — which have merged and will come together Sunday for their first combined worship service at Champion City Vineyard, 137 E. Main St.

The merger of the Uniting Faith Church and Champion City Vineyard is an attempt to cross the racial divide, Pastors Jason Channels and Bruce Willman said.

Channels and Willman say they’ve always dreamed of pastoring a diverse church. After hearing a sermon this summer about a “church without walls” that challenged worshipers “to tear down those walls that divide us,” particularly the racial divide, both were compelled to act.

“What we see most of the time in America on Sunday morning, we see a black church, a white church and an Asian church and a Latino church, but not a whole lot of coming together and actually being the body of Christ,” said Willman, pastor of Champion City Vineyard. … Channels called the merger as a dream come true.

Read the full article at springfieldnewssun.com >>

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9Marks Journal on Multi-Ethnic Churches

The Summer/Fall 2015 issue of 9Marks Journal has a collection of articles and book reviews on the topic of “Multi-Ethnic Churches“—

Excerpt from the Editor’s Note:

Consider this Journal 9Marks’ way of inviting you into that work of ethnic reconciliation. Don’t you want to see churches in South Africa, India, America, and everywhere not lagging behind their neighbors in this area, but pushing out ahead? What a witness that would be to the power and glory and goodness of the gospel! Most of the articles have been borne out of the American experience, but hopefully the lessons will translate into any national setting.

This issue’s Table of Contents:

RACISM AND RACIAL RECONCILIATION

MULTI-ETHNIC CHURCHES

THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF MULTI-ETHNICITY

BOOK REVIEWS

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4 Reasons Why the City Needs Multiethnic Churches

Why the City Needs Multiethnic Churches
Redeemer City to City — July 2015

Eddie Dhanpat is starting Mosaic City Church in Queens, New York. He expounds on four reasons for urban church planting with and for a diverse community: City natives will expect it. The gospel demands it. The culture needs it. The Church needs it.

1. City natives will expect it. I grew up in Queens, New York. This is one of the five boroughs that comprise New York City. Although Queens doesn’t have the acclaim of Manhattan or the hipster population of Brooklyn, it does boast one very important thing: it is one of the most diverse places in the world.

I am a native New Yorker in the truest sense of the word. Growing up here presented an interesting paradox, in that although everything I did in my earlier years was within a two-mile radius of my home, that two-mile radius was my microcosm of the world.

As you would imagine this had a tremendous impact on public life. This was most prominently seen in public school. Most of my closest friends through college looked nothing like me. I say all this to help you understand the shock and awe for many natives of major cities who step into church for the first time and see that everyone there looks the same. For many natives it is as if they have stepped back in time 50 years. Natives will intuitively expect that churches look like what they’ve experienced their whole lives, but sadly they still don’t.

2. The gospel demands it. Ephesian 2 tells us that Jesus died so that humanity would be brought back together through Him. Jesus died so that those who were “far” would form a new people with those who were “near.”

We tend to only think about this spiritually. Those who were spiritually “further,” the Gentile, would form a new people with those who were “closer,” the Jews. But I think that this can also be expanded to mean that those who are “further” racially and ethnically would form a new people with those who were “closer” or more culturally privileged.

Now every culture and subculture has its privileged and marginalized peoples. But what I think is especially abhorrent to God is that these categories tend to correspond along racial and ethnic lines. This completely degrades the image of God that rest in each person regardless of race and ethnicity. So for example African-Americans have been marginalized for centuries directly or indirectly by privileged whites. The Gospel calls us to not turn a blind eye or conversely supplant the privileged but form a new people out of these two, held together by Christ. So if this is true, how are monocultural churches accomplishing this?

3. The culture needs it – Right now urbanization, secularization, and globalization are the major cultural movements of our time. In short, our culture is becoming more urban, secular, and diverse. Much church planting in New York City in recent years has done a great job with urban secular thinkers. But if these cultural movements persist we can only expect the magnitude of diversity to grow. Doing ministry to so many ethnic groups can be overwhelming. With so many different perspectives to weigh its no wonder why some stay away from it entirely. But if new churches in major urban cities are looking to be effective for the next few decades, it must design its ministry to reach city-dwellers, who are both secular and diverse.

4. The Church needs it – The Church in America has sadly been late this party for far too long. Multiethnic churches in America are too few and far between. I am afraid that decades of an unfettered application of the “homogenous unit principle” has caused us to sell out for massive congregations where everyone looks the same. I am not opposed to large churches, but while we were creating colossal churches, the culture became captivated by a different narrative. What if the problem with our churches were not our theology or political stances but the inconsistencies of monochromatic ministries portraying a beautifully colorful God? What if the church rose above our culturally enclaves and instead led the way in authentic multiethnic community? I wonder if the culture would not be inspired if they looked into our churches and saw a glimpse of heaven.

The full article was mirrored from the archive.org cache of the original article at Redeemer City to City.

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Border Crossing: Renting to Churches of Other Cultures

Elizabeth Drury wrote this series of blog posts about churches renting to other cultures — featured at EdStetzer.com’s “Thursday is for Thinkers”.

Border Crossing: Renting to Churches of Other Cultures Part 1
When immigrants need worship space, think twice before renting.

Border Crossing: Renting to Churches of Other Cultures Part 2
When pastors consider renting to churches from other cultures, they must examine their motives.

Border Crossing: Renting to Churches of Other Cultures Part 3
Elizabeth finishes her series on renting to churches of other cultures with some helpful concluding advice.

About Elizabeth Drury

Called to help the church cross cultural borders more effectively, Drury earned her PhD from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University.

An intercultural ministry facilitator, teacher, and researcher, she currently teaches part-time at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. She lives with her husband, Scott, and four sons in the DC metro area and is involved in the Wesleyan Church.

Connect with her on Twitter at @ElizabethCDrury.

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Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church? Christianity Today cover story

Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church? Inside a new experiment on evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and race.
by Bradley Wright (Christianity Today, July 21, 2015)

In a multiethnic church in Columbus, Ohio, white members addressed their minister by his first name. Black members viewed that as disrespectful, believing he should be addressed as “Pastor.” Conflict also broke out over disciplining children during worship services. Black parents tended to discipline their children when they were being disruptive, while white parents tended to let their kids move around.

… integrating a church is rarely easy, and often leads to a litany of unintended slights and unrecognized biases. And this can happen at the earliest and most basic level: welcoming visitors. Do Christian churches in the United States actually welcome people from different racial and ethnic groups?

To answer this question, another sociological researcher and I conducted a nationwide field experiment to see how churches respond to emails from potential newcomers. More than 3,000 congregations received an email ostensibly from someone moving to their community and looking for a new church. We measured whether the churches replied to this email and, if so, what they said. But there was a catch: We varied the names attached to the emails so that they conveyed different racial and ethnic identities. Would the names alone change how churches replied?

Yes, they did—but not for the churches that we expected.

Read the full story @ ChristianityToday.com >>