August 05, 2009 12:00 ET

Living Out the United Church's Intercultural Commitment

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Aug. 5, 2009) -

Meeting in Kelowna, August 9-15, commissioners to The United Church of Canada's 40th General Council will be invited to experience what it means to become an intercultural church.

This invitation was extended for the first time in 2006 at the 39th General Council in Thunder Bay. At that time, the United Church committed itself to becoming an "intercultural church"-a term that is often confused with the word "multicultural."

"Canadians come from many different countries and backgrounds. We speak many different languages and value many different traditions," explains the Rev. Michael Blair, The United Church of Canada's Executive Minister of Intercultural and Diverse Communities in Ministry.

But while Canadians are proud of our multicultural society, the United Church wants to go one step further. "Intercultural experiences draw participants deeper than multicultural celebrations of food, folk, and festivals," comments Blair.

He explains that the vision of being an intercultural church calls all of us to move to becoming mutually welcoming and racially just communities. "Intercultural is not a substitute for 'ethnic.' Rather, it is a whole way of being church together that goes beyond ethnicity, race, culture, and language," comments Blair.

"In an intercultural church, no culture dominates another. Everyone participates fully, and our leaders would be as diverse as our population," says Blair. "People from all different cultures would truly listen to each other and be heard."

Blair explains that no one is left unchanged in the intercultural process. Some examine their own culture more deeply, and some are changed through their interaction with others.

He adds that the 40th General Council will create intentional spaces for people of diverse cultural backgrounds to gather in community, to learn from one another, and to nurture better places of belonging. It will also welcome as observers three guests representing cultural communities-Deaf, Aboriginal, and Ethnic Ministries.
/For further information: Mary-Frances Denis
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office until August 5, 2009)
416-400-7273 (cell/voice mail August 5–18, 2009)
250-807-9451 (August 7-16, 2009) PLEASE NOTE THIS PHONE DOES NOT HAVE VOICE MAIL

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Toll-Free: 800-268-3781