Tuesday, March 13, 2012

from DRE Taryn Strauss: Report from "Multicultural Congregations as an Act of Faith"

In February, members and staff took advantage of an educational opportunity in accordance with our strategic plan, that calls on us deepen our commitment to becoming a more diverse congregation. All Souls RE Director Taryn Strauss attended a week-long seminary intensive course called The Multicultural Congregation as an Act of Faith. As part of this transformational course offered by Meadville-Lombard Seminary, students examined four different churches who had all made tremendous strides in becoming more welcoming and inclusive to people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Each of these churches undertook a process of adopting a congregational mission to become an example of what Martin Luther King called the Beloved Community, where diverse voices are heard and reflected in worship, and all aspects of congregational life. For every congregation, the path to becoming more intentionally inclusive was long and challenging, but the learning and the relationships offer rich rewards to congregants. Many long-time members of these congregations expressed a sense of pride about the achievement of becoming a more multicultural congregation. Members felt that practicing the Beloved Community was not only healing for themselves as individuals, but enacts a vision that has the power to heal the world.

Also during this weekend, members of our Diversity Task force attended a worship service at All Souls Washington D.C., one of the churches who identifies as a Multicultural Congregation, and look forward to sharing more about how we at All Souls NYC may experience the profound joy of becoming a more diverse church community together.

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