Investing in our future

The Commission for Mission’s InterCultural unit is asking congregations and individuals to help 30 young people from the synod’s diverse ethnic communities travel to China for a contextual learning experience.

InterCultural director Rev Swee-Ann Koh said he hoped the trip would build relationships and respect.

“It will encourage participants to learn about our partner’s (the China Christian Council) ministry context in order to discern God’s mission in, and between, the peoples,” he said.

A primary focus of the InterCultural unit is to work with ‘Next Generation’ (NextGen) youth in the CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities within the synod.

“The NextGen are often caught between two cultures that do not completely accept them,” Mr Koh said.

“At home, the NextGen learn the beliefs and values of their parents’ first culture, but in school and in work they are enculturated into the new one. They have two worlds at the core of their being. This can lead to an identity crisis, which is compounded by the fact that their parents and sometimes their ministers do not understand them, and try to impose ‘old ways’ on them.”

The InterCultural unit seeks to create a ‘third space’ where the NextGen can work through the issues that affect them in a group setting.

The trip is a joint project between UnitingWorld, the China Council and the CFM.

“This tripartite joint program will enable NextGen to connect and learn from the fastest growing Church in the world.

“The young people will have opportunity to share with the Church in China the multicultural nature of the Uniting Church and their faith journeys,” Mr Koh said.

Upon their return, it is hoped the NextGen will share with the synod what they observed and learned.

“We see this as another critical step towards empowering them, finding their voice and enlarging their visions.”

Each young person accepted into the program will travel to China, visiting four cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Mt Huangshan and Nanjing) and spend approximately two or three days in each city.

They will meet with young Chinese people from various Christian congregations, for discussions, participation in workshops, worship, and to enjoy their hospitality.

Adult leaders will accompany them from Australia and provide pastoral support and opportunities for reflections and debriefing.

Mr Koh would like congregations and individuals to encourage young people to apply, help financially where possible and pray for them as they work together to make the trip a reality.

For more information contact: KOH Swee-Ann, M: 0424260222 E: koh.sweeann@victas.uca.org.au

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