Cross-Cultural, Cross-Racial Appointments Focus Of Conference

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Conference creates space for Pastors to connect

From November 15-17, United Methodist pastors, cabinet members and staff from conferences across the country gathered at Fellowship UMC in Trophy Club for a conference specifically for pastors who serve in cross-cultural/cross-racial ministry settings and the District Superintendents and conference staff who support them.

Representatives from Nebraska, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Colorado, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia participated in “In Living Culture: Creating & Releasing Active Cultures for Transition, Traction and Triumph in Cross-Cultural/Cross Racial (CC/CR) Appointments.” The event was designed and led by Rev. Edlen Cowley, senior pastor at Fellowship UMC.

This conference was borne out of a need Rev. Cowley observed when he began serving in his first CC/CR appointment back in 2003.

“Over the years, that need grew into a call; a call to expand the opportunities and resources for personal and congregational leadership, self-care/self-awareness, preaching, church administrative leadership and networking with other pastors in CC/CR appointments,” Rev. Cowley said. “In Living Culture, for me, is the ultimate answer to that call.”

Rev. Cowley said the most gratifying response to the conference over the past two years, especially this year’s conference, was to hear participants say they were glad to have the space to have the conversations they felt they couldn’t have with anyone else or anywhere else because it is “hard to communicate the complexity of ministering in the CC/CR context unless you are in it.”

Whether it’s a Korean, Pacific-Islander or African-American pastor serving in an Anglo context (three of those situations were represented this year), an Anglo Pastor serving in an African-American context (two pastors representing this situation participated this year), or other variations, having the space to connect, discuss, learn and strategize about ministry is vitally important for all parties involved.   

In addition to the worship experiences and teaching blocks offered on Power, Purpose, Bringing God’s Kingdom on Earth, and the Beloved Community, the core of the conference was the “From the Frontlines” presenters. These presenters were persons serving in CC/CR appointments who told their stories, were interviewed and took questions from the attendees. This year’s presenters were:

  • Rev. Sungmoon Lee, Senior Pastor, First UMC Pilot Point (NTC), Korean
  • Rev. Dr. Lucretia Facen, Senior Pastor, New World UMC (NTC), African-American
  • Rev. Dr. Gloria Fowler, Director of Congregational Development and Transformation (Louisiana Conference), Korean
  • Shandon Klein, Certified Candidate (Elder track), First UMC Richardson (NTC), African-American
  • Rev. Dr. Edgar Bazan, Senior Pastor, Casa Linda UMC (NTC), Hispanic/Mexican

Next year’s conference will expand to include more “From the Frontlines” presenters serving in more diverse settings and more specific sessions for District Superintendents and Conference Staff.

“I believe CC/CR ministry will be growing over the coming years,” Rev. Cowley said. “The need for conferences like ILC and other resources of its type will continue to grow.”

Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2019