Talbert Award, Legislation Spotlight Cultural Competency at This Year's ACS

June 24, 2010

Cultural competency training twice drew the focus at this year's California-Nevada Annual Conference Session.

The 2010 Bishop Melvin Talbert Award for Racial Justice was presented to Dr. Lucia Ann ("Shan") McSpadden, who devised the Conference's program to provide support and mentoring to clergy who are appointed cross-culturally and cross-racially. She leads workshops for clergy and congregations in these appointments, as well as training other clergy and laypersons to lead cultural competency workshops (and in fact, conducted such a workshop at First UMC, Sacramento, on the day before ACS began).
"This year's recipient … has spent her entire life and career working tirelessly toward racial justice for all of God's people," said the Chair of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race, the Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, in making the announcement.
"She also planned for and carried out a four-year research project for GBHEM on the experiences of clergy appointed cross-culturally/cross-racially. This project resulted in the publication of Meeting God at the Boundaries, followed by a manual for training and reflection activities for clergy, congregations, and cabinets.
"Along with two other colleagues, [she] designed and led a project to understand how ethnic minority pastors were being incorporated into the United Methodist, American Baptist, and Roman Catholic denominations in Northern California, a project funded by the Fund for Theological Education," he added. (Read complete text of Dr. Kuan's presentation announcement in PDF format here.)
Cultural competency came to the forefront later in the week, too, when members approved Item 29, Resolution Supporting Shared Facilities Through Cultural Competency Training.
The item, submitted by the Commission on Religion and Race, noted that in the Cal-Nevada Conference "a significant number" of congregations of different ethnic backgrounds and/or traditions are worshipping in the same facility, and that shared facility situations were raised as a major concern during the Conference audit by the General Commission on Religion and Race.
It calls for the Annual Conference to develop and provide joint cultural competency training for the clergy and local church lay leadership in shared facilities, beginning in 2011, and for clergy and congregations currently in shared facility appointments to participate in cultural competency training prior to the 2012 ACS. It also mandates cultural competency training as a condition for approval of any new shared facility arrangement.
The resolution was approved in its section and adopted as a part of the Consent Calendar.