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Three views of our 'multicultural' church

VIEWS: 19 PAGES: 4

April Yamasaki writes of how her congregation inAbbotsford, B.C., has been deliberate in its embrace of 'mak[ing] disciples of all nations! Samson Lo explains the goal of Mennonite Church Canada's Multicultural Ministry and the biblical basis of one church, many peoples'. In our final piece, Joon-hyoungPark challenges the church to go beyond Just sharing a space with other ethnic groups' if it wants to avoid the appearance of just a landlord's temporal charity.'In almost three decades, Emmanuel's original membership has grown to more than 270, as the predominantly Russian Mennonite group has been joined by people from "all nations," including Germany, Holland, Vietnam, China, Japan, El Salvador, Kenya and Iran.* RISK-TAKING: I realize that Emmanuel took a huge risk in calling me as a pastor 17 years ago. The church had wanted a pastor with previous experience; I had none. The church had wanted a pastor trained in an Anabaptist-Mennonite school; my degree was from an interdenominational school. Some weren't sure whether to be more surprised that the church was calling a woman pastor or someone who- in their minds at least-"just wasn't Mennonite."

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									  Three views of our
      ‘multicultural’
                                                                                 church
   April Yamasaki writes of how her congregation in Abbotsford, B.C., has been deliberate in its
                                                ’
  embrace of ‘mak[ing] disciples of all nations. Samson Lo explains the goal of Mennonite Church
                                                                                           ’
    Canada’s Multicultural Ministry and the biblical basis of ‘one church, many peoples. In our
    final piece, Joon-hyoung Park challenges the church to go beyond ‘just sharing a space with
                                                                                                  ’
   other ethnic groups’ if it wants to avoid the appearance of ‘just a landlord’s temporal charity.




   Becoming a multicultural church
                                        By April Ya m asaki




                                                 I
                                                          n 1981, the newly formed Emmanuel Mennonite
                                                          Church drew on Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19
                                                          to express its purpose as a congregation: “To
                                                                                        ”
                                                          make disciples of all nations. At the time, the in-
                                                          tention was simply to begin an English-speaking
                                                 church, but, in the years since, it seems to me that those
    I empathize with those who are               words have proven to be more prophetic than anyone
 minorities in the church, who are not           might have realized at the time.
                                                    In almost three decades, Emmanuel’s original mem-
   sure that they can—or even want               bership has grown to more than 270, as the predomi-
 to—‘become Mennonite,’ or who feel              nantly Russian Mennonite group has been joined by
                                                 people from “all nations,” including Germany, Holland,
 frustrated as permanent outsiders to            Vietnam, China, Japan, El Salvador, Kenya and Iran.
the in-group who all seem to be related.            Emmanuel might not be officially “multicultural,”
                                                 according to the standard definition of having a minor-
                                                 ity of at least 20 percent, but there are enough visible
                                                 minorities that visitors often remark on it.
                                                    At Easter, the traditional greeting, “Christ is risen!”
                                                 was given in a number of different languages. At our
                                                 Peace Vespers last November, we deliberately included
                                                                                   Canadian Mennonite September 6, 2010                       5



                                                                                                               
								
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