“I hope to put together a plan for building intercultural competency in my historically homogenous, rural community (white, German, Catholic), so that we can set a welcoming table for diverse populations that are increasingly calling this place home. ”
After overseeing the creation of a community of communities for the pastoral stability of our region, I would like to step back to examine one of the pastoral challenges we face. As the incident with George Floyd exploded into worldwide waves of demonstrations against racial violence, it unmasked for us at a local level the dangers of racial and cultural division in our midst.
The region that I serve is historically homogenous (white German American), but is enjoying increasing waves of diversity, welcoming Latinos, Somalis, and others. I would like to see that flourish in mutual understanding and mutual benefit, and not spiral into conflict. To do so, someone must be proactive in building intercultural competency.
I feel that I can play an important part in that effort because of my role as pastor and the benefit of the experience of living in Japan. My twelve years in Japan immersed me in the challenge of being an immigrant in a homogenous population, and in diverse populations that were struggling to do so. Now is the time for intentional reading and reflection so that I may return to that rich venue with new questions and find fresh solutions.