June 7, 2011

Struggling to Become a Multicultural Church

A number of ECF Vital Practices readers have recently requested resources on how predominantly white, English-speaking congregations can become more multicultural. I believe that the above video may serve as a great conversation starter about the gifts and struggles that are part of becoming a multicultural congregation. Even though it is 12 minutes long, it could easily be shown at a vestry meeting, after a worship service, or during a congregation-wide meeting on becoming a multicultural parish. As you will see, it raises more questions than answers making it an excellent way to get a conversation started on this important issue.
The journey & struggle to become a multicultural & multiethnic church was produced in 1999 by the documentary filmmaker James Ault who is most famous for his documentary Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. On the following page, Ault writes that this video was originally a roughcut for a series of shorter portraits of vital congregations that he produced for the Zacchaeus Project of the Episcopal Church Foundation. “The story of this congregation, All Saints Episcopal Church in Oxnard, CA, points to important lessons for any church struggling to become genuinely multiethnic or multicultural.”

One element that surprised me is that this video highlights the ministry of the Rev. Anthony Guillén. While Anthony has since gone on to become the Officer for Latino Ministries for the Episcopal Church, this video captures him in 1999 when he was just starting out as the new rector at All Saints, Oxnard, CA, as he struggled to lead a traditional Episcopal congregation in a new direction. Please watch and share this wonderful resource.