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

 

As we are journeying through the season of Lent, we are also experiencing uncertainty as a result of COVID-19. Our way of life has drastically changed and this reality challenges us to find different approaches to relate with one another and continually build up a Beloved community. Let us not forget that although our local churches are closed, we are still called to live out our vocations. As we practice social distancing, let us continue to be in solidarity with one another. When we are bombarded by media headlines about COVID-19, let us not forget there are other important tasks that we need to be mindful of and carry on, like anti-racism, anti-poverty, climate justice, and other social justice issues. 

In our News & Upcoming Events section, you will find information about our previous webinar "Strangers & Angeles Unaware." The facilitator Bill Millar talked about how to shift our ways of doing church in a context where our national demographic is changing and where the number of church participants is declining. There is also an announcement about our next webinar, "Bridging Intergenerational Gaps within Ethnic Immigrant Churches". While Dr. Ben Kuo will be focusing particularly on Asian immigrant churches, the webinar is relevant to immigrant churches, as well as churches that have immigrant families in their communities. Since all churches experience some type of intergenerational gaps, I'm sure everyone will find this webinar helpful.

Another upcoming event is that FILL will be offering the five-day Engage Difference! DUIM program in Toronto, which can also be taken for academic credit. The space is limited so encourage your friends and church members to register ASAP. In addition, we share with you about the leaders of three of The Canadian Council of Churches denominations have shown an excellent example of how churches continue to work together in the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis. They have issued a joint letter recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent and have committed to do more to address anti-Black racism and uphold the main objectives of the Decade. Lastly,
Bernardo Ramírez (a regular guest at Toronto Engage Difference! programs) and Carmen Ramírez Núñez (DUIM program-intercultural mentor) have released their music album! Let's support them and try listening to some Spanish music.

For our Reflections & Tool section, Mirim Kim has written an article explaining why an intercultural perspective is required in children and youth ministries in Asian immigrant churches. May this reflection help you to prepare your heart and mind for the upcoming webinar.

News and Upcoming Events

 
Our Previous Webinar

On February 12th, 2020, we held our second webinar, "Strangers & Angels Unaware: Demographic Change, Church Decline and Radical Hope." Bill Millar (Intercultural Ministry Researcher & Trainer) presented specific info on demographic changes and projections in the Canadian population, as well as patterns of church decline. He then explored some strategies to lift churches out of shock and discouragement - helping them mobilize hope by opening their faith communities to more diverse populations. More than 40 people participated in this engaging webinar. To learn more about this webinar and view the recording, visit FILL website.





Join Our Next Webinar - April 29th 4pm EDT

Every church is shaped by generational differences. This can take the shape of the often asked question of why an age group is not present (every generation in Canada has its own "culture"). Perhaps in the distant past yours was an immigrant church and the negotiation of generation differences continue to shape the present culture in conscious and unconscious ways. Today "ethnic" churches encounter profound generational differences or a "non-ethnic" church might include members who are experiencing generational migrant differences. While this webinar focuses on ethnic immigrant churches, it will be an important discussion for all church communities. 

In this session Dr. Ben C. H. Kuo, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Windsor, will address ways to: a) better understand common intergeneration gaps that occur among, immigrants, children, youth, parents, and families; b) identify how similar intergenerational issues can be observed and reproduced in church and congregational life; and c) respond and manage intergenerational conflicts/gaps in ethnic churches through communication, relationship building, and increased cultural empathy. The webinar will be on Wednesday, April 29th 4pm EDT (1pm PDT, 2pm MDT, 3pm CDT, 5pm ADT, 5:30pm NDT).

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


We are offering again the five-day 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.

 



International Decade for People of African Descent


On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination the leaders of three of the Canadian Council of Churches denominations have issued a joint letter recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent and committing to the call upon churches to do more to address anti-Black racism and to uphold the main objectives of the Decade. The letter commits these churches to “gather and share resources that encourage conversations across our churches, facilitate deeper understanding of human rights and help eradicate racism". 

Read the letter and news releases from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the United Church of Canada.
 
Re-Live a DUIM Dance Class
Toronto "Engage Difference! DUIM" alumni will want to buy a copy. Bernardo Ramírez is a regular Toronto guest and Carmen Ramírez Núñez is one of our intercultural mentors. They share that "this CD has been in process for a few years. Some songs were inspired by life experience while others were just creative work. Carmen and I put a lot of time and effort into making this album for the dancers and listeners of Cuban Son and contemporary Salsa. Also included are two boleros (slow songs) and a plena (similar to calypso). We hope you will take the time to hear it and share it widely. Many thanks!"

Look for their songs on iTunes, Spotify, etc. To listen them on YouTube.

Reflections &Tools

 
The need for an intercultural perspective in children and youth ministries in Asian immigrant Churches
 
Mirim Kim shares with us why an intercultural perspective is crucial in children and youth ministries in Asian monoethnic immigrant churches in Canada. Immigrants, especially Asian immigrants often see their children as their only hope for a better future in their immigration journey. When they send their children to school, they expect them to learn English and build networks outside their ethnic group in this pluralistic society. Immigrant children are aware of these unspoken expectations that their parents put on their shoulders. Thus they learn to adapt and assimilate to become a successful member of the Canadian society.
 
Yet on Sundays, these children experience confusion from the discrepancy in the expectation they receive from their parents and adults in the monoethnic immigrant church they attend. Many immigrant churches in Canada intentionally maintain a monoethnic church environment in order to provide a familiar and comfortable environment for the immigrant parents, while offering specific cultural and language education for their children. Thus the children’s effort to assimilate and become a member of the Canadian society is hindered by the church culture that gives them the opposite message of needing to become one of their proud ethnic members. These different expectations not only culturally narrows down their interpretation of the Bible and theology, but also hinders the second and third generation children and youth from finding meaning and relevancy from the Biblical teachings, and applying it in their multicultural context.  

In this context, what we need is an intercultural perspective in the children and youth ministries in these monoethnic immigrant churches. It means guiding children and youth to see their spiritual identity first and foremost as the image bearer of God, and extending it to see this same identity in others. It means supporting them to maintain their own ethnic identity, but at the same time, teaching them to appreciate and respect the ethnic differences in others and cherish the diversity as God’s creation. It means letting this cultural diversity mould and shape them to be unique individuals, while doing life together with other ethnic individuals. But, how do we do this?... Read more

Mirim Kim is a DUIM alumna and a seminary student at Knox College pursuing the MTS program specializing in Religious Education. She is married to a youth pastor and have three boys, who are all under the age of ten. Her passion has always been for children, youth and family ministries, and creating practical activities that help families to cultivate loving, joyful, and faith-based home environment.
 

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:

  
-or-
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


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