Intercultural Neighbouring Sunday
Celebrate the cultural diversity at the heart of our Church and explore ways to build intercultural relationships in your neighbourhood.
June 14, 2023
On Sunday 16 July, the Uniting Church will celebrate Intercultural Neighbouring Sunday (INS). Emerging from a decision of the 16th Assembly meeting, it will be the first time Uniting Church communities are invited to mark this day – an opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity at the heart of our identity and to explore ways to build intercultural relationships in our own neighbourhoods.
The 2023 theme is Our Pentecost Vision: Being a Multicultural Church.
Find below the 2023 INS Celebration Guide, a Prayer, 10 ways to celebrate in your community and a message from Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis.
2023 Intercultural Neighbouring Sunday Prayer
Who is Spirit
Who is Christ,
You call us into community,
A community of the common good,
A community of oneness in our diversity,
Unite us in your mission as we seek to live out your love.
Gather us to worship you from every nation, tribe, culture, and language.
You call us from the comfort of our familiar circles,
To go where our neighbour is,
To help them in their need and let them help us in ours.
You call us to be loving neighbours,
As we who are your diverse and multi-coloured people,
One family united in the purpose of your Kingdom,
Seeing all people as part of your kin-dom of humankind,
Each a beloved sibling to share in grace.
Bless us with your wisdom,
That we may walk and work together as neighbours, friends and co-pilgrims.
And live out faith and life interculturally.
Being a multicultural fellowship of reconciliation and renewal in our neighbourhood.
United we pray.
Written by Rev Jon Humphries and Rev Dr Paul Goh from the Assembly Transforming Worship and Being a Multicultural Church Circles.
10 ways to celebrate Intercultural Neighbouring Sunday
By Rev Dr Paul Goh, a Panel Member of the Assembly Being a Multicultural Church Circle
- Begin a conversation: Start with where your congregation 'is at'. Begin with a cultural audit of your neighbourhood. What is the place of the congregation within the community? Visit your local government’s website to get your community’s cultural profile. Identify CALD faith communities who are meeting in your church premises or neighbourhood. Consider doing a faith-based cultural intelligence (CQ) assessment. Out of this study will come an awareness of practical ways your congregation can seek to live out this commitment to be an Intercultural Church.
- Be renewed and reminded of the vision: of being a Multicultural and Intercultural Church by reading Uniting Church documents: We are a multicultural church: Assembly statement (1985); A Church for all God's people: Vision statement (2006); One body, many members: living faith and life cross-culturally (2012).
- Invite a minister or pastor from a different cultural background: invite someone who is in your neighbourhood or Presbytery to your Sunday service to preach and/or plan to do “pulpit swap” between two congregations. Invite someone from neighbouring CALD churches to come and share their intercultural story during worship. Follow Guidelines for Culturally Inclusive Worship (2013, Assembly) and consider some ideas in “Worshipping in an Intercultural Church” and “Towards intentionally anti-racist worship”.
- Invite a choir from neighbouring CALD churches to come and present to your congregation. Check out some suggestions for Worship in Creating-an-intercultural-space.pdf
- Host a combined service: Contact neighbouring CALD churches and ask their ministers/leaders whether they would like to collaborate in co-hosting a combined worship between two congregations. If you have a CALD group with whom your congregation is sharing church premises, check out National Property Policy for the UCA(2010) and Framework for the setting up of a Covenant/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If your congregation is seeking cooperation and partnership with other neighbouring churches, check out When churches join: guidelines for UCA seeking cooperation with congregations of other churches (2002) and AUSTRALIAN CHURCHES COVENANTING TOGETHER
- Organise a small group visit to neighbouring CALD churches and participate in their worship services, Bible studies, discipleship-training events, prayer meetings, or mission programs. Encourage participants to share with your Church Council/Congregation what they observed and learned from their visits.
- Plan a series of intercultural learning activities for your congregation and/or small groups with the following resources: Share the vision: Bible studies about the vision of a multicultural church; Building bridges: discussion booklet; Friendship in the presence of difference: Study guide; Space for grace - living in the grace margin; Resources for CALD & Intercultural Ministry Formation ∙ Education ∙ Discipleship; Multiethnic Conversations: An Eight-Week Journey toward Unity in Your Church (Download the Leaders Guide); the GlobalChurch Project videos with small group study guides.
- Host (or co-host) an intercultural and/or interfaith dinner event with neighbouring CALD faith communities at your church with multicultural foods, music and performance. Be inspired to read a story of magic in breaking bread with others, engaging with cross-cultural & interfaith neighbours at the table. Check out an Assembly guide, Steps to hosting an Iftar, and an ecumenical liturgy, Gathering Around the Table: Small Group Communion Service.
- Advocate for a multicultural approach to key issues such as Mental Health, Domestic/ Family Violence issues and support CALD Children/Youth/Family ministries through joint initiatives and educational programs (e.g. Joint Kids or Youth Camp).
- Co-host a community celebration: approach your local government council to explore collaboration in co-planning and co-organising a Neighbour Day Celebration event with your congregation and neighbouring CALD communities. For more information and resources on Neighbour Day visit https://neighbourday.org.
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