News, ideas, and questions for Intercultural Ministry in Canada
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A Note from Pablo


Happy New Year! There are exciting news, reflections, and tools to share in this e-newsletter! First of all, last year November, we had our very first cross-Canada webinar and more than 30 people joined us! It was quite an engaging and enriching webinar experience! Noticing how a webinar can connect DUIM alumni and offer a platform where the alumni can share their work and insights, we are holding another webinar February 12th! Make sure to register and include the date in your calendar. 

There are other two major events to have in mind. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this Saturday. There might be some local churches organizing prayer meetings and gatherings in your area. Visit The Canadian Council of Churches website to learn more about local gatherings and to find ways how you can participate in this meaningful event. Also, we are holding a DUIM program in Toronto from July 6-10, 2020. Like last year, this program can be taken for academic credit. Help us to share widely about this program.

In the second half of the newsletter, you will find a great reflection by Dianne Hope, a useful poster that shows that the Golden Rule is found in 13 different sacred texts, and a brief explanation of the existence and the role of FILL's theology and research group. I hope these resources enhance, enrich, and encourage your intercultural ministries and journey as you start the year 2020! 


News and Upcoming Events

Our First Successful Webinar!
On November 20th, 2019, we held our first webinar, "Building Welcoming Spaces with Universal Design." Miriam Spies (UCC Minister and PhD student) and Alice Schuda (Centennial College) explored how to talk about and create welcoming spaces for People With Disabilities (PWDs) from a theological perspective. They focused on how to apply the practice of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in our ministry and church contexts. More than 30 people participated in this engaging webinar. To learn more about this webinar and view the recording, visit FILL website.

Join Our Next Webinar - Feb 12th 4pm CST

Join our February webinar as we look at current demographic studies, projections of our changing society, and data on church decline, and ask “What if we really have only two choices: to embrace this new reality – allowing our churches to morph into new intercultural communities or become a kind of anglo-hideout? What should we do?”

Through this webinar discussion, we will learn these changes not as diminishment but as possibility, hope, and call. Together, we will look at some strategies for opening our faith communities to folk who are "different" than us, to the new and more diverse Canada. 

The facilitator for this webinar is Bill Millar, who is an intercultural ministry researcher & trainer, completing a McGeachy Scholarship from the United Church of Canada on the nitty gritty of intercultural living to be published as a podcast series. The webinar will be on Wednesday, February 12th 4pm CST (2pm PST, 3pm MST, 5pm EST, 6m AST, 6:30 NST).

For information and to register, click here. Also, please share widely and advertise this webinar to your network and communities. Download a flyer of the webinar here.
If you have any question or concern, contact Pablo Kim-Sun
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

All across Canada, Christian communities are getting ready for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (traditionally celebrated January 18-25). Each year, the 8 days of this global ecumenical event bring Christians of different traditions together in shared prayer, Bible studies, service, and fellowship. This year's theme – ‘They showed us unusual kindness’ (Acts 28:2) – challenges us to draw on our lived experience of Christian unity and show "unusual kindness" in a world fragmented by political, economic, and ideological divisions. To find out if there is a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity event in your area and to learn available resources, click here.

2020 Engage Difference! Toronto - July 6-10, 2020.

We are offering again the 5 days Engage Difference! Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry (DUIM) program in Toronto. This program can also be taken for academic credit through Wycliffe College and the Toronto School of Theology. For registration and more information, click here.

Reflections &Tools

Yoga and Insights on Intercultural Community - Dianne Hope
You may ask, "What is the connection between yoga and intercultural community?" Let me explain. I was lying in shavasana at the end of my most recent yoga class when I had an “ah ha” moment. After a bit of an internal struggle and a few tortuous drives from my new residence, I had decided to change yoga studios, leave my favourite yoga teacher and seek out a new studio closer to home. As I lay in shavasana that Tuesday I realised how much I was enjoying yoga practice with my new instructor. Yes, it was different, but it still met my needs and offered new and enjoyable approaches. In addition, I was able incorporate techniques I had learned at my previous studio in this new approach.

I realised that forming intercultural community can involve similar steps to those I went through during my change to a new yoga studio – struggle with an existing situation, a decision to make a change, making the change, and finally experiencing the new (hopefully joyful) way of being. At its best, intercultural community makes space for all to feel comfortable to be fully themselves, for all to know that their unique gifts and talents are valued and that the community is willing to be shaped by their presence. I believe deep joy and satisfaction can be found in such community.

The making of this space in a community can however, involve much internal struggle and even interpersonal conflict, as individuals summon the courage to engage in difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Participants in the intercultural journey have to be willing to listen to perspectives that are different from their own and may have to sit with the discomfort of realizing how their privilege and power can be caught up in the marginalization of others. Then comes the decision to intentionally work towards making space in organizational structures, traditional practices and personal interactions for those who are different - be it difference of race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic standing (and this is not an exhaustive list by any means).

As an Afro-Caribbean-Canadian woman, a member of the laity in a community of faith made up primarily of persons of European descent, it can be difficult to initiate the conversations that lead to a deep dive into the topics of bias, privilege, distribution of power and the changes that would be needed to form an intercultural, as opposed to multicultural community. I have initiated and/or participated in carefully curated activities such as Black History Month services, the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, and a Lenten Bible study incorporating materials from the DUIM course. I have made suggestions for more inclusive representations in visual materials used during worship services. I have also held leadership positions in our community. The positive responses I have experienced in these situations are uplifting and I can feel in them moments of genuine intercultural encounter.

I pray and look forward to a time when an intercultural lens permeates all we do, a day when leadership and congregants are intentional about embarking on the exploration that will lead us further and deeper on the intercultural journey.
Dianne considers much of her life has been an intercultural journey and is so pleased to represent the United Church on FILL. As a retired educator and a DUIM course alumnus, she welcomes opportunities to help facilitate courses offered by FILL.

La Règle d'Or Parmi les Religions du Monde Treize Textes Sacrés

Interfaith is intercultural! Due to the intrinsic relationship between culture and religion, intercultural dialogue is also an interfaith dialogue.

In our intercultural/interfaith dialogue, we focus both on our commonalities and differences. To emphasize one commonality among different religious groups, we share this Golden Rule poster by Paul McKenna.

To find out more how this resource is being used to enhance interfaith dialogue and further interfaith resources, click here. To download the poster in English, click here.
The Golden Rule poster is also now available in 9 different languages!

FILL's Theology and Research Group: Mandate & Purpose  Emo Yango

Did you know that FILL has a Theology and Research Group? The group is made up of four individuals: Nestor Medina (Emmanuel College), Harry Lafond (Roman Catholic), Susie McPherson Derendy (Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre) and Emo Yango (United Church of Canada). The initial mandate for this working group is to prepare a framework towards constructing a theology of interculturality. It is supposed to guide and inform the FILL Reference Group with a clear theological delineation of interculturality.

Accordingly, the FILL’s Theology and Research Working Group has adopted the following as its mandate and purpose:

1)  The celebration of the diverse voices of the church as communities willing and able to be part of the conversation, with the recognition that each of us speak from different ethnocultural vantage points.
2)  To acknowledge that each of us comes to the table with our own unique experiences and diverse theological traditions. To that end, our purpose is to wrestle with and interrogate the available language and to develop/create new language to speak about intercultural exchanges. 
3)   Of particular importance is the need to reflect on what we mean by the notion of interculturality. 
4)   As part of our objective, we are committed to challenging the separation between theory and practice as a false dualism, and to reclaim the lived-experiences of people on the ground as sources of theological material. 
5)  The challenging of this false dualism, which is expressed in many other ways, will mean to also challenge Western Eurocentric and Euro-Canadian-centred forms of knowledge and doing church which discount other forms of learning, along with other forms of knowledge, of doing theology, and other forms living life. 
6)   Conversely, this interrogation will hopefully lead us to the celebration and valuing of Indigenous cultural traditions and knowledges, as well as the celebration and valuing of the many other ethnocultural and epistemological traditions that call Canada home.

Through the work of the Theology and Research Group, we hope it also contributes to the developing discourse of interculturality in Canadian context.

Help Support the Resourcing of
Intercultural Ministry in Canada

The work of the Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning is only possible with your help. If you support providing a space in Canada for intercultural ministry leadership and learning,
please consider making a donation today.
One of the strengths of our programs is the participation of marginalized communities. Consider making a donation to our bursary fund to help support their participation.
How to donate:

Mail a cheque payable to “Canadian Council of Churches”.
(Write donation to FILL in the memo line or in a note)
Send to:

Canadian Council of Churches
Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning
47 Queens Park Crescent East
Toronto, ON M5S 2C3

Donate to our program bursary fund
Several years ago a grant allowed us to establish this fund which supports participation in programs by individual's from marginalized communities. This has profoundly shaped  our work!
Help to continue this important way FILL is Intercultural by donating to the bursary fund
The Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning is a reference group of
The Canadian Council of Churches

Copyright © 2020 Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning, All rights reserved.

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