Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:20-21)
There’s no getting away from the fact that UK society is reshaped by the movement of people from different countries and continents. What it means to be British is being reimagined but at the same time, we must recognise the reality of xenophobia, fear and unconscious ethnic bias. The Bible makes it clear that all people, whoever they are, wherever they’re from, are made in God’s image. Humanity is one family. But the Bible also speaks of diversity within the oneness.
Within Antioch, a city riven by ethnic tension, Christians from all different backgrounds came together to demonstrate a new way of living. They lived in unity, but they lived differently. The church in Antioch both accommodated diversity yet transcended above it. Maybe because their ethnicity was no longer the ultimate signifier of identity, Christians were first called Christians in Antioch.
For CBC to be a truly ethnically diverse church, we need to become a community where everyone shares in mission, leadership, worship and ministry. It means learning to be flexible and adaptable. But what about other forms of diversity we see in society? The challenge is bigger than welcoming ethnic diversity but is to be a radically inclusive church: A church that welcomes everyone in our community, whoever they are, whatever they look like, whatever their age or ability and regardless of the things they do or have done.