|Var and Emma with Pastor Ray Viera of GOCOP at the WEBA Ministers' Conference|
Our new church is now called ‘Rise and Shine’, inspired by Isaiah 60:1.
We meet to pray and study John’s Gospel most weeks and on 7th September 2013 there will be a
launch event when we will begin formally worshiping together as a community.
Building a church that seeks to be ‘multi-cultural’ is... complicated. The difficulty is that white privilege - the core issue at play - is rarely, if ever,
addressed. How do you react when you hear us say that? White privilege? What? In the UK, in the
Er... well, yes. If you are white, you probably want us to soften the term, or point the finger at individuals who would be classed as overtly ‘racist’, or you probably feel less inclined to read this newsletter because the authors are on a ‘soapbox’.
If you are Black, you might agree, in part, but would rather it wasn’t mentioned because it make
things awkward and embarrassing especially when you’re trying to get on in a white world. However, the key issues in forming multi-cultural church are not, as often stated, about sharing cultural styles in worship, or having people of colour included on leadership teams (that very word ‘included’, reveals a lot about which group is doing the including i.e. has the power). The issues revolve around questions of ‘who’s in charge?‘ and ‘which culture is dominant?’. So, here we are, two white people commissioned by a Black church to pioneer a multicultural church - and no-one likes
talking about the core issue - like we said....it’s complicated!
Life may be complicated but following Jesus is always a great adventure!
Anyway, our team is made up of ten people (including children) from House of Praise church in Easton, Bristol. 7 of the team have a Caribbean-British heritage and 4 have a White-British heritage. Our strategy is to make friends with people, pray for their needs and invite them to our meetings. Having children on our team really helps us to make our meetings open to everyone. Despite the issues, we have a lot of fun!
If you'd like to keep in touch with how Var and Emma are getting on, contact them to receive the One Hope Ministries' newsletter, which also includes Var's film-making exploits and Emma's reports on the Gospel Generation Community Choir: