The Office of Diversity supports leaders representing Korean, African American, First Nations, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. Together, these groups represent about one-third of all CRCNA churches today. And they are growing!
This is change!
Synod 2022 was the first denomination gathering in two and a half years for leaders of the Christian Reformed Church. As I sat in the gallery and watched the proceedings, I began thinking about the decisions and changes underway from growing the church through church affiliations with Korean and Latino communities and witnessed Jose Rayas as the first person of color holding the gavel as president of synod.
Yet, as I looked into it, I was shocked that only 18 of the 183 delegates at Synod 2022 were people of color. That's only 10% and we must do better! The noted lack of diversity this year necessitated the appointment of three ethnic advisers, according to synod rules.
In spite of this challenge, things are changin' for this small denomination and by God's grace we’ll continue growing into His diverse and unified family.
Amen, Reggie! We can and must do better, and have so much to learn. As you point out, these CRC congregations comprised of Black and brown Christians are growing, and we know that the mostly white congregations are shrinking. So it doesn't make sense that so few of synod delegates are people of color. We should ensure next year that most delegates are people of color so that the leaders from the growing part of our denomination are making the decisions at Synod.
It is very disappointing, all right. We have been intentional about improved diversity and race relations for 50 years now. 10%. Sad. Classes should be asked to make this a priority when sending delegates.
John A. Tamming
A picture contains a 1000 words, the picture for this article provides a million words. At least we are talking about the inequalities instead of ignoring them, or have we? Have we being ignoring the inequalities for 50 years or more? I think the latter is a truer statement, though I have not been with the CRC for 50 years, rather more like 5-7 years. I did attend Aspire pre-covid, pre-covid a new era title. During those years God provide many things to me, my own meeting with Jesus, my illnesses, the dissolving of our Church through many ways, one simply put is racism - our new Pastor is (now keep this secret!!) He's black! In defense to the Church that may have been the reason for only a couple of people - but a couple of people is a couple too many, in my humble opinion. Covid certainly did not help - 2+ years of missing that face to face meeting and socializing! The Synod has discovered they are not representing all of God's children! I hope they will put real solutions on the table, not quotas, rather open those doors and let God's children become leaders within the CRC walls. While doing so, we must not become hippocryts we must be led by God's voice. There are some key points we need to keep in the fore front.
1. Please do not use the term BIPOC - it is just another label to separate the people by their skin colour or background.
2. Recognize the populations in different areas where the Church services today and think forward to tomorrow.
3. In Canada contrary to BLM - yes I am opening the can! - the largest minority are Indigenous people, not black people or people of other colours. The official number is not readily available as census records are very hard to find that are accurate. Many First Nations do not participate in such census because they believe the census is really for them to know of the make up of the nation around their lands - whom they see themselves as curators or caretakers for the Creator. Yet we do know that over 5% identify themselves as First Nation, Indigenous, Inuit, Metis, and Aboriginal (there are many First Nation people - such as Cree, Blackfoot, Algonquin and there are many others I did not list everyone - nor did I purposely ignore a First Nation).
4. Another reason not to use BIPOC is that if you know your history in the US, you would know that Black Soldiers (Buffalo Soldiers - no one knows who invented that name) were active participants in the genocide committed against Native Americans and therefore there is heavy wounds to heal first. Many of the Native Americans fled to Canada, my ancestors did - I am part Cree (father's side), and yet if you saw me you would say my skin is White!
So let's leave BIPOC out.
So how do we get more people of different backgrounds into the Synod - invite them, simple as that. Put away conscious and subconscious bias's away store them in a little box in your head and ask Jesus to get rid of that box. Invite them earnously, don't pay lip service - we can smell that a mile away. If you are serious to make changes do so honestly - throw out the quotas. Jesus had only one quota - the entire human population!
I think the picture relating to this story speaks volumes! In fact, it is more than speaking volumes it is a thunderous roar! Yes those people do deserve our appreciation as many are volunteers, but we as a group of God's children are not playing fair in the global sandbox.
Here in Canada the largest minority are our First Nations - not only are we on their land but they account for over 5% of Canadians or people living in Canada. That last part - many First Nations look at the land that they are living on - is not Canadian land but their ancestral lands and as such, they do not participate in Census gatherings. As one elder told me really we should be doing a census of who is living on our Lands that the Creator gave them.
So this is leading to one of my pet peeve points. Do not use the acronym BIPOC at least in Canada because it is misleading and also there are some very deep wounds between Black and Indigenous Peoples.
First "I" should come before any other group since it is the largest group (in Canada) and also because they were here before anyone of us or our ancestors came to Canada and the United States.
Second, many Churches or Denominations committed atrosities - such as genocide against many First Nations and Indigenous Peoples. We see these atrocities (genocide) stories are slowly coming forth.
Now one that many people in the US and Canada do not know or fail to realize, that many First Nations, Indigenous People and American Natives. Do not trust Black people (the B in BIPOC). Why? well the term Buffalo Soldier refers to the Black Units of the US troops that were sent to conduct the Trail of Tears, to slaughter the Buffalo and let them lay there rottening and to make a few extra dollars kill Native Americans for the bounty money.
And finally, POC People of Colour - why do we need to call out people of Colour they all know what colour of skin God gave them.
So drop the BIPOC acroynm completely - God does not care what colour you are He Loves all of His Children. And so should we.
If you want to grow the membership, be inclusive because you truly want to be inclusive, we've had enough of being Token people on some board. Make it honest, make your Synod open to all of God's children.
I agree! (Although, this actually seems like an improvement to the 2021 Survey respondents diversity, that the denom published.)
I agree because -- judging by the reports of Consejo Latino, the Korean council, and the speaches given by our ethnic advisors to Synod -- the vote percentage on HSR/unchastity would have been much higher for the orthodox side and lower for the affirming side. Probably would have given us a better representation of where our denomination actually falls.
We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.