Dandenong Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Apwee Ting believes there is a desperate need for churches to re-discover the art of cross cultural ministry in order to fully engage with their missional mandate.
Dr Ting – who was last month announced as the new National Director of Assembly’s Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry, replacing Rev Dr Tony Floyd – said he was pleased that the Uniting Church was at the forefront of such ministry.
Raised a Buddhist in Indonesia before converting to Christianity, Dr Ting said he strongly felt “the hands of God, friends and communities supporting and encouraging me to take this important role”.
“I feel so grateful and humbled by this opportunity and will give myself as a servant to all,” Dr Ting said.
“I look forward to working closely and constructively with my colleagues in synods, national conferences, presbyteries and congregations.”
Working in one of Australia’s most culturally diverse and multifaith communities, Dr Ting is extremely qualified for the role. He is a former chairperson of the UCA’s Indonesian National Conference, as well as a former chair (2006-2009) and current member of the Assembly’s national reference committee for multicultural and cross cultural ministry, with the specified role of liaison with the Assembly’s relations with other faiths working group.
Dr Ting said Dr Floyd had led the UCA into a very firm understanding of being a multicultural church and this was something he would build on.
“This ministry particularly has a strong link with the work of UnitingWorld, taking in the dynamic relationship between home church, partner churches and UCA, and relationship with other faiths.”
One of Dr Ting’s priorities will be developing more culturally accessible resources for ministry. In his own work, Dr Ting has developed a system using images of seasonal fruit to explain biblical and theological understandings.
UCA President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney welcomed Dr Ting’s appointment, saying that he brought a wealth of experience in working cross-culturally in congregations and a deep understanding of the UCA’s overseas church partnerships.
“In this 30th year since we declared ourselves to be a multicultural church, I’m delighted that a minister from a diverse cultural and religious background will be leading our national efforts to support this dynamic area of ministry.”
Dr Ting’s placement with the Assembly will begin in July.