Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ethnic Ministries in the Episcopal Church

One of the resolutions assigned to my committee (Legislative Committee #14 Formation and Discipleship) is A055 Develop MulticulturalMinistry Pathways. We had a hearing on it today and heard testimony by those doing Black, Indigenous, AsiaAmerica, and Hispanic/Latino Ministries. 

We heard stories of Karen communities1 that are growing in churches that were on the brink of closing, vibrant Latino congregations across the church, but the most telling for me was from Brad Hauff, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries. As he shared work that his going on in these communities, he said “those living on the land now known as the United States.” What powerful words on this July 4th to repent the atrocities that we have and continue to commit on non-white communities. 

Image result for all saints episcopal church smyrna
Image from All Saints Episcopal Church, Smyrna, TN
The resolution asks for $100,000 over 3 years. That is $33,000 per year for gatherings, trainings, and collaboration between 4 very different ministries that work very well together. This is a unacceptable amount of money for communities that are growing in the United States. These ministries have long been served by The Episcopal Church but they are not the other. These ministries ARE The Episcopal Church. If The Episcopal Church is going to survive, we have to come to terms with how the United States (knowing that The Episcopal Church is larger than one country but still dominated by it) has changed demographically. These ministries represent our future.

1 In The Episcopal Church, there are 18 Karen communities served by one priest. They are refugees from the Karen State of Myanmar in Southeast Asia. One example was made famous in the movie All Saints that was released this year about All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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