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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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March 13, 2009

What do we want?


When the ELCA started as a merger of three churchbodies in January 1988, one of the stated goals was that the church membership would, in 10 years, have 10 percent of its membership be people of color and whose language is other than English. Well, here we are 21 years later—and we haven't even made it to 3 percent yet! We have one churchwide unit whose function it is to help all the church in its collective work toward that goal. But it isn't just up to this one unit, Multicultural Ministries . It's up to all of us in our congregations, our synods and our regions. One of that unit's many resources, One Body, Many Members , can equip us for this goal. Check it out.

So what happened? What do we really want? Do we know what we want? Do we know what we'll gain? What we'll lose—or what we may have to give up? All of these questions, and more, went into the planning for our July 2009 cover story, which I'm coordinating and others are writing. 

Why haven't we gotten to 10 percent? What will it take? What do we mean by a "multicultural church"? This is a journey. It's not about who's right and who's wrong. It's about life together—and walking together.

I'd love to hear your ideas. 

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