Indianapolis, IN (February 12,, 2010) – A major initiative involving young adult Disciples to address the issues of becoming a truly multicultural and inclusive church was proposed by a planning committee on January 29-30 in Indianapolis.
The proposed initiative would bring young adults together for hands-on exposure to diverse cultural and racial experiences through a series of work trips to different Disciples mission stations across the United States.
The creation of this planning committee was one of the major recommendations made by the March, 2008 Consultation on "Becoming a Multicultural and Inclusive Church." The planning team’s mandate was to develop a substantive conversation among young adult Disciples on the issues of multiculturalism and diversity within the life of the church and society.
The planning process represents collaboration among several general ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), including the National Convocation, the Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries (CPOHM), the North American Pacific Asian Ministries (NAPAD), Reconciliation Ministry, Week of Compassion, Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM), Disciples Home Missions (through its Young Adult Commission), and the Council on Christian Unity.
The proposed initiative looks to a year-long program where groups of 12 to15 Disciples young adults will visit four mission stations of the Disciples of Christ representing different cultural and racial contexts. The goal of the work trips is to launch a movement that creates a space for focused conversation around the interrelated issues of poverty, systemic racism, immigration, and exclusion. The hope is to develop a model of action and reflection to empower participants to personally impact their communities and congregations.
The planning team tentatively identified the following sites and dates for the visits:
- Disciples Volunteering in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November 2010.
- Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries on the Texas/Mexico border in March 2011.
- Yakima Christian Mission in White Swan, Washington in June 2011.
- Nashville, Tennessee, the site of General Assembly in July 2011.
It is anticipated that this gathering will be much larger than the previous events, with the possibility of opening participation to any Disciples young adult who would like to attend.
The young adults who participate in the work trips will be nominated or endorsed by the various sponsoring ministries within the church. Participants at each site will be selected to insure equal representation among ethnicities and gender balance.
The planning committee also discussed how to use a variety of social networking tools to host conversations regarding multiculturalism, to have follow-up discussions after the work trips, and to inform, advertise and network with other young adults about the forthcoming events.
Members of the planning team were: Amber Clarke (Convocation), Bekah Cypert (YA Commission), Robyn Fickes (CCU), Daphne Gasto (CPOHM), Brandon Gilvin (WOC), Brittany Barber (Reconciliation), Eli Rolon (HELM), and Yunkyong Hill (NAPAD). Staff working with the committee included April Johnson (Reconciliation) and Ayanna Garrett and Robert Welsh (CCU).