July 09, 2020 | by Aileen Jimenez and Philip J. Brooks
United Methodists are working to dismantle racism as part of the church’s commitment to freedom and justice for all people. Congregations can work toward equality and equity for all by communicating intentionally with different racial/ethnic groups. Communicating multiethnically begins by actively listening to the different voices and experiences within the congregation and wider church – and to those of the communities the church intends to reach.
Multiethnic communication starts with building relationships. Churches cannot hope to speak to people in different communities without understanding them and their unique experiences.
“No matter the background of the pastor or the congregation, authenticity and lived experience are essential,” states Erin Hawkins, general secretary of the General Commission on Race and Religion.
Hawkins urges churches to host dialogues with other congregations and community leaders of different racial/ethnic groups. “Ask the people you’re trying to reach what you can do for them, rather than assume you have the answers. “How can we support you in our ministry? How can we learn from you? How can we care for you?””
Aileen Jimenez is manager of Hispanic/Latino leader communications at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Philip J. Brooks is a writer and content developer on the leader communications team at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.