One of the many things that makes Manchester Diocese such a vibrant place to live and work is the rich diversity of people that make up our communities. We are blessed to live in a multicultural region with a range of influences on our food, music, arts, and our churches. Over recent years, many new migrant communities have made Greater Manchester and Rossendale their home and found comfort, companionship, and joy in our churches.
Our churches are places of welcome to all people seeking sanctuary, and we seek to embrace a culture of welcome, generosity, and safety. Intercultural mission involves intentionally reaching out to people from all nations and integrating them into a worshipping community.
It works best when people can bring their whole selves to church and, rather than feeling like guests, are instead welcomed as sisters and brothers in Christ and their culture, music and language embraced.
Research carried out by Eido Research in Manchester found these five keys to success in intercultural mission:
welcoming and actively pursuing relationship with people of other ethnicities and cultures
Being present and consistent:
remaining available to their communities on a day-to-day basis and being persistent in sharing Christ
Being invested and trained:
having leadership teams and congregations that were committed to and trained for mission
Concentrating on evangelism:
actively committing to sharing Christ
Remembering God’s agency in mission:
recalling that mission was ultimately God’s work and did not depend on human efforts
To explore this topic further, we spoke with Canon David Onabanjo, Intercultural Mission Enabler and Reader at St Cross Church, Clayton. He shares more about his role at the diocese and some suggestions for welcoming visitors from other cultural heritages into your churches.
We also share some suggestions about welcoming people into your churches in this article: Manchester: a place where everyone feels at home.
If you would like to take part in Canon David's work please email him at email@example.com
This video shares more about the intercultural mission work at St James and Emmanuel Church, Didsbury.
Sharing this video created by the Church of England in Birmingham.
Examples in Manchester Diocese
Local articles about intercultural mission
Further reading and resources
The Diocese of Oxford's Intercultural Mission Hub is packed with articles, blogs and videos for anyone interested in this topic.
The Diocese of Birmingham has created an online mini-course that offers an inspiring, transforming resource. Made up of four sessions that include videos, exercises, activities, planning and input all designed to help you experience, understand and plan your own intercultural mission.
The Black Light course offers an opportunity to explore and reflect on this scenario. The course was first run in London in the 1990s as an opportunity for Black Christians to dig deeper into their history and think about contemporary challenges and opportunities, and for White Christians to learn more about the history, spirituality and faith of Black Christians and churches. Black and White presenters and participants shared in a rich learning experience. Over 20 years on, some of the issues have changed, others remain the same.
Research on intercultural mission in Manchester and Leeds: https://sim.co.uk/news/uk-intercultural-mission-research/