We live in one of the most diverse societies in the world. In Australia, more than 300 languages are spoken at home and our residents were born in almost 200 different countries.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Pasadena, in suburban Adelaide, and the Indonesian Christian Fellowship of Adelaide at the same location, are taking cross-cultural ministry seriously as they reach out to our diverse multicultural society.
Where once the Indonesian Fellowship aimed to be a fully independent congregation with its own pastor, the two worshipping communities have now engaged in an open dialogue to explore a ‘unity in diversity’ of becoming one congregation at Pasadena.
Trinity Lutheran Church is a recipient of a Cross-Cultural Ministry grant which assists with the employment of a lay worker, Ani Sumanti, who pastors the Indonesian community.
Pastor Matt Huckel reports that two out of the four intentional joint worship services planned for this year have been conducted so far with ‘wonderful results and feedback’.
‘These services have been bilingual, and cross-cultural, as we have drawn in music, language and contributions from our African, Persian and Indonesian people. Each service has finished with food and fellowship’, he says. ‘Our people are embracing our new identity as a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation and are rejoicing in that new vision.’
Cross-Cultural Ministry in the LCA is on a learning journey. We love to hear from congregations regarding what they need to become a truly multiethnic congregation – a congregation that welcomes all.
The Trinity experience, as well as that of other multicultural congregations, has taught us that intentional training/workshops that assist and support church workers and key leaders are required. Research shows that denominations are supportive of the multiethnic movements of God in the churches, but don’t know how to give proper support and training to multiethnic church workers.
In 2019, the first Cross-Cultural Conference was held in the LCA. You can find the conference report, presentations and videos at www.lca.org.au/cross-cultural-ministry and click on the conference link.