From the Midwinter 2018 Covenant Communicator
“40 years ago,” Pastor Anne Vining recalls, “waves of Hmong refugees arrived in the Twin Cities after being displaced from their homes in Laos during the Vietnam War. They escaped to resettlement camps in Thailand before making new lives for themselves in cities around the US, including St. Paul, Minnesota. First Covenant Church in St. Paul sought to embody the love of Christ to their new Hmong neighbors, helping them get settled in a new land. But there were cultural differences and practices—beyond language—that added to the complexity of doing life together.” Church leadership recognized the need to invest time and resources to develop cultural agility if they hoped to do life together with their new neighbors. They engaged the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), an assessment tool that facilitates personal growth, insight, and collective change in ways that improve individual and congregational intercultural competence. The IDI is one of a suite of resources designed to help congregations in their efforts to bridge cultural difference and strengthen relationships.
Amid deepening racial divisions throughout the country, and a recognition of division in church leadership’s own response, First Covenant St. Paul remained convicted about seeking intentional pathways forward. They committed to creating space within the life of the church to hear one other, to learn from individuals with backgrounds that varied in ethnicity, race, and economics. They continue to hold fast to their hope that as a church they will grow together in an understanding of one another grounded in a common love for Jesus Christ. Says Pastor Anne, “This biblical call to create a safe and welcoming community where all are authentically invited to the table is a marathon, not a sprint.”
The IDI resource is available to all individuals and churches as one part of a broader congregational strategy for Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation. Request more information on the Intercultural Development Inventory at: firstname.lastname@example.org.