The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


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Becoming a multicultural church strengthens Christian community

The Lutheran asked Frederick Rajan, executive director of the Commission for Multicultural Ministries, for his perspective on the ELCA becoming a multicultural church.

The Lutheran: How is the ELCA facing the challenges of becoming a multicultural church? What's the commission's goal?

Rajan: The commission's goal is to help our church fully live out the gospel message that we're all brothers and sisters in Christ and must work together to build community. Central for the ELCA becoming a multicultural church is becoming an anti-racist church. That means we won't tolerate racism in any shape — individual or institutional. And we dismantle racism with education and holding each other accountable.

What does a multicultural ELCA look like? Why should we care?

A multicultural church is one where people of color and white brothers and sisters work together as equal partners, sharing and respecting each others' values, customs, traditions and gifts. Church is welcoming, flexible, always evolving and unafraid to explore new ways of doing effective ministry. Multicultural efforts call for change — not for the sake of change but for the sake of strengthening Christian community.

We are all created in God's image. Whether white, black, brown or yellow, we are brothers and sisters because of the waters of baptism, not bloodlines. We are nurtured at the Lord's table — a table for all, not just for some. As a people baptized at the font and fed at the table, we have no other option other than to embrace the multicultural world God has created.

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