Have you noticed how wonderfully diverse the culture at St Barnabas has become? We have noticed it too, and we think it is something to celebrate! Look around the church and ask those around you, “Where were you born? What is your family’s cultural background?” You will get some very different answers.
The diversity of our church congregation appears to be reflective of the diversity in our larger community. Our local school district, Sycamore Community Schools, proudly reports that students come from 54 different birth countries and speak 30 different languages. Because of growing diversity, the City of Montgomery launched a new campaign called #IamMontgomery to bring awareness and education to the community. Residents can show their support for diversity by placing a sign provided by the city in their yards.
The Children and Families Ministry at St. Barnabas is also very proud of the cultural diversity in our church. We note that “cultural diversity” doesn’t have to mean that a family comes from a different country or speaks a different language. Whether one is from another region of the U.S., has an affiliation with a different historical country of origin, or boasts a multi-generational Cincinnati background, each person and each family has a unique heritage and story. What does all of this difference mean for our Community of Encouragement?
The Children and Families of St Barnabas are planning to host an event for the entire church to showcase and celebrate all of the wonderful backgrounds of the people who make up our church. The event, called Cultural Encounter Sunday, will take place on Sunday, February 24, 2019 directly after the 10 a.m. service and will include a Costume Parade, Cultural Games & Crafts, Food Samples from around the world, a meal of Cincinnati Chili, and other surprises! There will be lots of fun ways to participate.
Although the main purpose of our event is to celebrate and to enjoy each other’s company, Cultural Encounter Sunday has an important tie-in with the mission of the larger Episcopal Church. Have you read anything about Becoming Beloved Community? It is a mission, or journey, for Episcopalians called forth by the General Convention to respond to racial injustice and to grow a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers. Cultural Encounter Sunday at St. Barnabas is certainly a positive step in what can be described as a labyrinth of a path toward reconciliation and healing of racial divides. Please click the link below to learn more.
Cultural Encounter Sunday will also help to support the mission of St Barnabas Church. There is no fee to participate in the event. Instead, proceeds from financial donations made will benefit St. Barnabas’ Outreach programs. These may include Habitat for Humanity, Seven Hills/Findlay Street Neighborhood House, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Operation Give Back, and NorthEast Emergency Distribution Services. All of these organizations serve low-income and at-risk families right here in Cincinnati. When John Nolan, the Ministry Council Leader for Outreach, spoke with our committee about the work that these organizations do, many of us were greatly moved when we heard about hungry children right here in our city and even in our school district. Research shows that poverty and minority status are often linked. Participation in Cultural Encounter Sunday can also help to lessen the economic and racial divide right in our own backyard, so to speak.
Today is a good day for you to mark your calendar for Cultural Encounter Sunday on February 24! We hope that over the next few months you will think about ways that you may enjoy participating in this event. Do you have historical or traditional clothing from your family’s culture of origin or a unique place that you have visited? Would you like to host an activity or craft that would help us learn more about another country or region? Perhaps, you would enjoy making a beloved family recipe and sharing samples at the event. Or maybe you would have fun helping with our Cincinnati Chili meal. Please see the contact information below to get in touch with the chair people for each area. We are hoping that by giving a lot of advance communication about the event, it will give plenty of time for everyone to plan for February. Of course, if you can’t help with the event, we definitely still want you to come and have fun! There will be so much to see and do, and we don’t want anyone to be left out!
Cultural Encounter Committee Members:
Kara Shay Thomson
Nicole A. Hershey
Learn more about Becoming Beloved Community
Learn more about St. Barnabas Outreach
Learn more about #IamMontgomery