Looking for ways at the synod level to become anti-racist and multicultural? Four synods are trying something new. They gathered in January in Dallas under the theme, “No Longer Strangers: Ministry in the 21st Century” (from Ephesians 2:19).
All four synod bishops and 100 other rostered leaders from the Arkansas-Oklahoma, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana, Southwestern Texas and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast synods spent three days discussing ways to practice congregational ministry that transcends cultural barriers.
Synod leaders worked with ELCA Multicultural Ministries to create an ongoing strategy, with bishops and synod staffs taking ownership for what happens next in their synods.
ELCA seminaries continue to develop ways to prepare people of color and languages other than English for rostered ministry.
At the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, an ELCA grant funds the Multicultural Center now served by Jose Rodriguez, director, and Kimberly Ferguson, program coordinator.
The center’s goals include developing and strengthening lay schools of theology for African Americans, Latinos, Chinese and Arabs in large cities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The center also will encourage partnerships between LSTC, the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest in Austin, Texas, the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia and the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta.
Sherman G. Hicks became a Lutheran in third grade when white classmates invited him to church. “I felt welcomed, and I stayed,” he said.
Now Hicks is executive director of ELCA Multicultural Ministries. His childhood experience taught him about openness and invitation, key pieces for the ELCA as it moves forward in its commitment to becoming a multicultural church.
Blessed Madugba (back) supervises youth preparing for a rummage sale at True Light Lutheran Christian Church, Streamwood, Ill. The Mandarin-languagecongregation is diversifying by offering a servicein English.
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© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers