Recently an article was published about issues of multi-cultural training at Duke Divinity School. You can read about it here. I commented on several blogs but I wanted to raise my voice in this space to unveil the discourse of diversity and inclusion in a very unlikely place, Duke Divinity School, a seminary training future pastors and church leaders. Here is my response to the article.
Diversity and inclusion in the church continues to be an issue. Moving away from the minimization of cultures toward cultural integration is not new to America, nor to the church. Resistance remains visible and embedded in institutional and church leadership.
A commitment to diversity and inclusion is not passive, but it is an intentional act. Admitting students of different cultures includes the responsibility to share cultural education. In turn, we honor and value those we have sought to bring into community and create a greater understanding of each other.
As leaders of the church, we must be willing to embrace new skills, knowledge and attitudes.
These conversations are required to lead as a pastor in an increasingly diverse world. As a church diversity coach and an African-American pastor of a Burmese refugee congregation, I speak from experience. I navigate the uncharted territory of engaging with and within a different culture as a pastor and worshiper. I wrote about it here.
Reaching all people for Christ, embracing the broadness of God and crossing cultural boundaries is an intentional ministry to be pursued with our hearts. This conversation is the start of the engagement of diversity and inclusion. I pray God continues to show us how more churches can make a difference, Our church communities, divinity schools, and each of us must ask the question. Are we prepared to serve the changing demographics of our communities? Are we prepared to act?
Awaken Our Hearts!
Rev. Daynette Snead