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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Being multicultural helps

There isn’t a nice way to say this: Jason’s mother is a prostitute. Tarnisha and Richard Dalton (not their real names) knew her as a friend of Tarnisha’s brother, murdered while running with the wrong crowd. After his death, the Daltons discovered Jason’s mother was pregnant.

The couple knew it wasn’t likely that Tarnisha’s brother was the father. But when they heard she was going for an abortion, they persuaded her to have the baby. “We’ll raise the child,” they promised. The woman agreed. After Jason’s birth, the mother called the couple, coldly stating: “You’re not going to want this baby. It’s a white boy.” The Daltons, both African American, immediately said, “That doesn’t matter to us.”

Jason, a healthy 5-month old, was baptized at All Peoples Gathering Lutheran Church, Milwaukee. The Daltons are adopting him. It helps that All Peoples is their second family. At All Peoples many white people have African American “parents” and “grandparents.” Many African Americans have Hispanic and Latino “cousins.” Many Hispanic and Latino youth have both white and African American “uncles” and “aunts.”

The congregation has even started a MissionFutureforKidz investment fund for Jason’s college tuition. Until Jason turns 18, the fund will work for the ELCA to plant new congregations and help others build and rehabilitate buildings (www.elca.org/mif; 800-638-3522, Ext. 2943)

“All Peoples Church being multicultural was one of the first things that appealed to us when we visited last year. Everyone is accepted,” Tarnisha says. “Now that we have Jason, it just seems … like us finding this church was supposed to happen.”


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