Race and your church

Discussion in 'Forum for Polls' started by Joseph M. Smith, Mar 3, 2006.

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Race and your church

  1. We are all one race and never talk about that.

    82.0%
  2. We are multiracial and working at being more so.

    18.0%
  3. We wish we could reach people of other races but cannot make it happen.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Tell us about what kind of attention your church pays to "race" (or ethnicity, or color .. whatever word suits you).
     
  2. StefanM

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    My church's town has few, if any minorities. I personally do not know of any in the town of about 900 people, and in the town in which I live (about 10 miles down the road, about 5000 people) there are very few minorities. You can go for weeks without even seeing one.
     
  3. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    In the town in which I live, there are 6 blacks, a few hispanics, and a few Inuit. In the town where my church is (15 miles up the road), there are 2 blacks (actually, mulatto, who both attend our church), and a handful of Inuit (who actually come to the town where I live to go to church). Race is not an issue in our church. Except for my wife and son; she's from Puerto Rico, and so technically my son "qualifies" as hispanic, even though he speaks no Spanish.

    Race is not an issue. All four minority people go to our church.

    Of course, the town in which I live is 4,000 people, and the town in which the church is has 1,500 people.
     
  4. Melanie

    Melanie
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    Our church has all sorts....Aussies mostly immigrated at one time or another, there are Indians, Chinese of many nations, Phillipinas, Islanders, Europeans of many nations, and yes even the odd Kiwi
     
  5. billreber

    billreber
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    I marked "We are one race and never talk about that" because we do NOT consider a person's skin color when looking at them for membership. We look ONLY at whether they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

    If you are really asking about ethnic background in church membership, my church has American Indians, blacks, whites, Japanese, and Chinese members. All of us worship the same God, and all of us are one in the Spirit.

    Bill
     
  6. natters

    natters
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    We only accept ONE race into membership at our church: the human race.
     
  7. gb93433

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    In the church I attend all are welcomed. We are running the race to win.
     
  8. Gib

    Gib
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    We don't allow racing at our church. Someone could get hurt.
     
  9. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    When I read your answers, I remember just how monocultural some parts of the nation are. Here in the Washington, DC, area, we have people from every imaginable people group (does that feel better than "race"?). Many of them are clustering into their own churches, sometimes for language reasons, sometimes because of cultural comfort. But it feels to me that the vision for a rainbow of all God's people in a given fellowship is fading. Happily, there are some where it is not. But we are seeing all-white churches dwindling almost to the point of disappearance, and all-black churches prospering tremendously. But very few people other than African-Americans even consider those churches as the place where they will invest.

    But I do see the value, of course, of targeting a specific population. In the pastorate from which I recently retired, we sponsored the establishment of a mission for French-speaking Africans, since we had taken in as a member a young man from Congo who was theologically trained and ordained and had pastored a similar church in London, England. Great experience!
     
  10. Hope of Glory

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    My wife went to a wedding in a black church once, where we used to live. She was the only white person in the church. Everyone treated her with the utmost respect, and the common bondage of Christian fellowship was present, but the worship style was not one that she would choose (nor I).

    Does that mean that their worship style is wrong? Probably not. But, it did tend to draw mostly blacks, and was in a part of town that was nearly 100% black (although a lot of the members came from elsewhere).

    So, even though we are all a part of God's family, we do have different likes and dislikes, just as in a real family. I can eat a meal of stuffed jalapenos and crawfish, while my son can't stand crawfish and my wife can't stand jalapenos. That's not wrong, that's just different tastes. (And both, food preferences and worship style preferences, I might add, are probably a difference in taste that is brought about by different cultures.)
     
  11. TaterTot

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    Well, we DO live in a racially tense area. Our church is welcoming of those different from us for the most part. There is one woman who made a comment 6 years ago when we came to this church on a night that a black child came to church on the church van. She asked if he was colorblind. He looked himself up and down, thinking maybe his socks were mismatched or something, not realizing right away that she was unhappy. Then he replied that yes, he is colorblind, and so should she be. We have never heard another word out of her when there have been black visitors. Among true Christians here, the issie isnt skin color, it's culture. We worship differently, thats a fact, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love to hear the choir from one of the black churches sing. They cant be still! I love it.
     
  12. Debby in Philly

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    Talk about culture clash! Our Pastor is Puerto Rican, one of our assistant pastors is from Cameroon, the other from the Phillipines.

    Our church sits in an area with a mixture of blacks - American and actual African, Puerto Ricans, Asians of all kinds, and Arab Muslims. And a few whites, like me. Now add to that young vs. old, and you have a real mix of worship styles, taste in music, traditions, etc.

    I wish we could all agree to mix it up and take turns, and get along. Then we could all do more for the Kingdom.
     
  13. Gold Dragon

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    Our church is largely one race but a different one from most of the folks here. I belong to a Chinese Baptist church and we have been ministering to immigrants from HK and China to Toronto for the entire 30 years of our existence.

    As our second generation of english speaking folks continues to grow to become the dominant congregation, our identity as a chinese church is one that causes a lot of difficulties. How do we invite our collegues and co-workers to church where they will automatically feel a sense of alienation due to race?

    Through our history, there have been many non-Chinese members. 2nd generation Koreans, Japanese and other Asians usually have less of a problem feeling a sense of belonging. Several Caucasians have also been integral members, often through mixed marriages, but it is rare that they stay for very long.

    At one point, we were contemplating getting rid of the word chinese from the english name of our church to encourage a more multi-ethnic environment. This is an issue that is currently being confronted by all the chinese churches in the Toronto area which make up a significant portion of evangelical Christianity in Toronto.

    More recently, our church is starting to embrace our chinese heritage once again and a new wave of immigrants from mainland china are helping us to refocus our place of ministry as a chinese baptist church in multi-ethnic Toronto. We have been consistently sending short term teams to China and encouraging mandarin lessons among the english speaking 2nd generation.

    Race will always be an issue of struggle for an intentionally ethic church like ours. And while we try our best to be open to folks of all cultural backgrounds, the sad reality is that many do not feel comfortable in our congregation.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    I was never exposed to large Black populations before going South with the Civil Rights Movement in 1961. I believed in the principles of the Movement, and that all peoples are equal and should enjoy equal rights.

    Having said that, I was not prepared for seeing so many Blacks in one place, and I was taken aback for some time. At one point, I even sat on a chair and stared at a chap. The chap then bowed his head and looked away from me as he talked to me. I instantly saw what he had gone through all his life, and his "liberator" was behaving the same way. I learned the greatest lesson of my life in that moment, which seemed to last forever.

    If we are honest, we must admit that it does take time to adjust, but adjust we must. I have had mixed congregations since then, and I never had any problems with any nationality. I have seen people change seats, but they too adjusted over time.

    I think the biggest problem we have, especially in mostly white populated areas such as we have in Canada, is accepting the fact that if all are not free then none are free. It does take work.

    Debby, the Bible Club Movement practiced segregation in those days as well...they had white camps and black camps. I am not sure how they work to-day.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Rachel

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    I chose the first one because I thought you meant that, like this statement above.
     
  16. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Thank you for this insightful response. Yes, this seems to me to be an issue with ethnic churches. How long can they stay intentionally ethnic and still be true to the "whosoever will may come" principle? I know of Lutheran churches, for example, which were German or Latvian or Swedish, but which either adjusted to an English-speaking world or dwindled away. (One such church in Washington was a Swedish Lutheran congregation, and it still offers communion in Swedish from time to time, but most of its population is now African-American. They still do "St Lucy's Day"!).

    The largest Southern Baptist church in Maryland is a Korean congregation. But they have begun English-language services for the second and third generation Koreans who do not speak much Korean and for the non-Korean spouses. I presume they are trying to reach the general population, too, with that service.
     
  17. SaggyWoman

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    Generally, we are all one race.

    As far as skin tone, the church I regularly attend is a pretty white church, with some blacks, a lot of bi-racials, and a number of "we don't knows."
     
  18. Johnv

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    Race on Sundays is a big issue. I myself often have to race to get there in time for the preservice praise music.
     
  19. humilis

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    We have a dog that attends every service, does that count?

    Really, we live in a rural part of the county, near Jacksonville, Florida. One of our members lives down a dirt road near the church, their dog comes and sits outside while we are in services. He is as faithful as any member.
    Little or no minorities live within 20 miles of us, however, we reach out to all, as Jesus did. We regularly attend worship services and minister at the City Rescue Mission, and regularly have individuals from there attend at our building. We also have had guest Preachers of ethnic groups other then the majority of our membership. Last summer, our youth traveled to Atlanta and attended a church of a different ethnic origin. Our Pastor has a real heart for missions, and race does not enter into the equation.
     
  20. Gina B

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    Race? I don't think anyone pays attention to it.
    There's one family that looks like they're all American white people. Wait, two. Both have kids. Nobody picks on any of 'em for being completely white families, so I guess you could say our church is doing pretty good dealing with minorities.
     

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