by Captain Ketsia Diaz, Territorial Intercultural Ministries Secretary
Our Scripture verse for the One Conference was from Mark 3:25: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
As the Body of Christ, we are called to unity; whatever our differences might be in Christ Jesus they complement each other and fully reflect who God is. The shift from multicultural to intercultural is an invitation for us as believers not only to acknowledge the different ethnic groups in our corps or communities but to create intentional interaction with one another. We can take time to focus on conversing with each other in mutual exchanges of meaningful conversations that will enrich and promote deeper relationships.
As stated in the territory’s Mission Imperative, “We seek to be a Salvation Army fully engaged within our communities; celebrating the uniqueness and reflecting the diversity of our local neighborhoods.” This diversity can be reflected by race, language, socioeconomics, ethnicity and gender. The way we interact with each other in the Church is what is going to make the difference in the way the world sees God in us. The five points of the intercultural priority of the Mission Imperative include active awareness, mutual openness, consistent grace, unconditional love and practical equity—goals we can reflect on and strive for as Salvationists.
Are we aware of the gaps in the connections that keep us from truly engaging with one another and being more inclusive? Are we open to making a shift from merely acknowledging to including others?
Genuine unity does not just happen; it requires persistence and endurance, and sometimes giving up our own preferences. We need to make a conscious decision to create space where people can feel their uniqueness matters.
We recognize that forming deep relationships with people with different backgrounds can be challenging and even uncomfortable. Thank God He did not leave us to figure out everything on our own; we have Jesus’ promise that the Spirit will guide, counsel and remind us of His teaching.
Let’s rely on God’s Spirit as we seek to grow in unity with each other. Our hope in the Intercultural Department is that all of us can work alongside each other in the Central Territory to create space where individuals can feel accepted, included and loved.