(Jenn Lusher) - The “Place at the Table” gathering was held on April 8th at Evergreen UMC. It was a great time of worship, food and fellowship between our ethnic churches and leaders around the conference. Our desire was to begin a conversation on inclusivity and unity in diversity. All in attendance answered questions to help us better understand what it means to be at the table and how intentional inclusion and unity can be implemented to move us forward as a conference. Some asked hard questions about the lack of ethnic inclusion, while others admitted that our ethnic ministries have, at times, isolated themselves from the larger AWF. Yet the common refrain was: God still had much work for our ethnic ministries to do, and He was not done with them yet! This conversation was just the beginning. We hope this will be the start of what will be one of many conversations.
We plan to gather again on October 28th [tentatively] at the St. John Vision Center in Mobile, Alabama (Old Forrest Hills UMC). Sneak Peak: We will have an authentic Mexican food spread the likes of which an AWF conference gathering has never seen! During this time we hope to move into the next phase of “At The Table.” Our desire is to turn the lens “within” and begin discussing what a THRIVING ethnic ministry should look like and how we can be intentional about raising up indigenous leaders, that will help our churches evolve with a changing church culture.
From this event we also gleaned the importance of offering translative services to all ethnic groups. As we move forward we hope to implement these services in future conference gatherings where multiple cultures/languages will be present.
We want to invite you all to consider joining us as we continue these vitally unifying conversations.