Last week I attended two classes meetings, (one which is situated in one of the most diverse areas of the world and the other right next to it), neither of them had one person of colour as a delegate to the meetings and neither of them is sending a person of colour to Synod 2011. On Sunday our church (one which hopes to become a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural church) installed five new office bearers – none of them a person of colour.
I don't mention these things to try to point fingers and scold anyone (if I was, I'd be doing this to myself as I'm a part of all three of these groups)! I bring this up because these classes and this church are not being exclusive on purpose. As far as I can tell, they all want to be inclusive and desire to see the family of God reflected in our churches and church leadership. And yet, it’s not happening.
We want these things to happen “naturally.” Many of our churches are becoming more diverse so we think that this will naturally flow to having a more diverse leadership in our churches and that will grow to mean more diversity in our classes and denomination. But it isn't happening naturally. It seems like if we really are to become more diverse, not only in who shows up for a Sunday worship service, but in our leadership, we will need to become more deliberate about seeing this happen.
A report is going to Synod this year, approved by the BOT in February, from the “Diversity in Leadership Planning Group” (page 55 of the Agenda for Synod), which gives recommendations to the BOT and the denomination about how to increase diversity in the top levels of leadership in the denomination. It also recommends that classes review the guidelines of the 1996 report: “God's Diverse and Unified Family” before voting on who becomes a delegate to Synod.
These efforts are on the denominational level. What can we do in our congregations and classes to become more intentional about becoming God's diverse and unified family?