Three views of our
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
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