By Devanandan Anandarajan
I joined as a Minister in the Uniting Church in 1997 after having served in Sri Lanka as a Minister for 10 years.
I came as a Minister from another denomination to a placement in the Balkara Parish at Oakleigh as a Minister to the Tamil congregation.
After having served in three congregational placements I was called to a Synod role in the Commission for Mission’s Intercultural Unit as the Intercultural Resource and Development Officer.
In that role I was given the task of building and resourcing CALD leadership, advocating for CALD communities and resourcing them to understand the processes of the Church and its ethos, exploring post-colonial theology and building intercultural awareness in the councils of the Church.
It has been a challenging and interesting time. My task was to build on the work already started and explore and begin new tasks to help the Church to consciously address intercultural issues and help build intercultural awareness.
I did this work through organising workshops, conferences and having consultations with Ministers, communities and Presbyteries.
With a restructuring of the Synod about five years ago, I was given a modified role as Intercultural Leadership Development Co-ordinator in the equipping Leadership for Mission unit.
Having eLM at CTM gave greater opportunities to collaborate with other staff and help bring intercultural focus into other ministries.
I was a member of the Formation Advocacy Working Group for the Pilgrim Theological College and also a member of the Placements Committee, which gave me an opportunity to bring intercultural issues into the deliberations.
I have also been a member of the Synod Intercultural Forum and helped in organising their retreats and conferences.
As I conclude my role I want to express my appreciation to the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania for resourcing the work that needs to be done with CALD leadership, communities and young people.
We are on a journey of learning, changing, sharing and exploring what it means to be a Church of all cultures where each is valued, appreciated, changed by the other and equal in the round table of God’s community in Christ.
We have a long way to go before First Nations people, and CALD members can equally participate in the decision making, ministry leadership and mission of the Church.
For this to happen intercultural awareness skills need to be intentionally addressed and progressed at all councils of the Church.
The CALD leadership and communities too need to actively own the space that is available and continue to advocate for their members and build their intercultural awareness and skills.
I leave with the confidence that the work of resourcing CALD leadership and communities and building greater awareness and skills at all levels of the Church will continue.
For we need each other to explore the mysteries of God and to live out our calling in Christ to be the loving community of God.