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Akesa Racava (L) and Peter Tboi (R). Photo: Supplied

Multiculturalism alive and well in the church

Speaking at the 33rd Synod in Session, Multi-Cross Cultural Reference Group (MCCRG) chairperson Akesa Racava outlined the ways in which the group’s work intersects with Priority Directions, specifically around discipleship and leadership development, connecting with communities and multicultural capacity building.

Citing the statistic that there are over 70 cultures within the life of the church in Queensland, Akesa presented three key strategies (equipping the whole church, Next Gen Arise and cross-cultural integration) the MCCRG are pursuing to ensure congregations, presbyteries and Synod agencies incorporate into their life and mission the Uniting Church’s commitment to being a truly multicultural church.

Akesa made note of the strong presence of young people connected to Next Gen Arise in the opening worship celebrations as musicians and singers.

Akesa invited Peter Tboi, who came from Myanmar to Australia as a refugee and whose first language is not English, to speak to his experience as a candidate at Trinity College Queensland and the challenges he encountered with English and specific theological terminology.

“I always wanted to serve God so I started studying the lay preacher’s program at Trinity College in 2009,” said Peter. “It was very difficult for me at the very beginning just to understand what the lecturers were talking about.”

“I’m grateful that Trinity College and the Multi-Cross Cultural Reference Group are looking into how better to support students from non-English speaking backgrounds just like me.”

A minute of appreciation was read out for Deaconess Terani Lima who was the convener of the Multi-Cross Cultural Reference Group until April 2017.

The report was received by Synod through consensus.

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