Multicultural Conference taps McCormick expertise

04-21-2010 by

Geoff Ashmun
As a leader in cross-cultural theological education, McCormick Theological Seminary is playing a major role in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 11th Annual National Multicultural Church Conference, May 26-30, 2010 in Chicago

Taking as its theme, “H20:  Deepening our Faith, Widening our Culture,” from the biblical vision of Ezekiel 47:1-12, the conference was designed by a an 11-member team with four McCormick alumni/ae who have extensive experience with multicultural congregations: Barbara Cathey, (D.Min., Class of 2009), Pastor of Edgewater Presbyterian Church, Chicago; Magdalena Garcia, (M.Div., Class of 1989), Pastor of Ravenswood Presbyterian Church, Chicago; Jeanette Jordan, (M.Div., Class of 2003), Pastor of Journey to the Cross Ministries Church, Illinois; and Julio Peña, (M.Div., Class of 2005), Co-Moderator of the 2010 Design Team and youth advisor for the Youth For Christ youth group of Pullman Presbyterian Church, Chicago, where he is on staff as a pastoral candidate.

This year’s conference places a strong emphasis on both developing specific competencies for multicultural congregations as well as identifying how theological education can support this work. Conference Leader Rev. Dr. Frank Yamada, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Center for Asian American Ministries, will be co-presenter of a session on “Theological Education for Multicultural Ministry,” which explores different racial/ethnic, theological, ecumenical and inter-religious models for how the Church can embody its multicultural mission. Yamada will also lead closing praise and worship on Sunday, May 30.

Several pre-conference workshops will serve as a primer to the main event. McCormick’s Institute for Cross-Cultural Theological Education, led by Institute Director Rev. Dr. David Esterline, is sponsoring and co-leading “Forms of Ecumenical Multicultural Ministries,” offering a wide range of national and global multicultural ministries with a team of cross-denominational theologians. The event is a partnership with the New York Theological Seminary and the Ecumenical Network FOR Multicultural Ministries.

In addition, “Racial Ethnic Congregations in a Multicultural Society,” led by a team including the Rev. Magdalena Garcia, specifically addresses the PCUSA definition of multicultural ministries and how to interpret this ministry from the perspective of people of racial ethnic backgrounds. This workshop will conclude with the opportunity for specific groups to pool their ideas and offer recommendations to local and national denominational offices.

McCormick is also bringing its experience in youth ministry to the multicultural conversation. Plenary presenter Adam Malak, a graduating senior at McCormick, has worked recently with Youth for Christ at Pullman Presbyterian Church, a predominantly African American congregation on Chicago’s South Side. The Rev. Laura Mariko Cheifetz (M.Div., Class of 2005), serving as Youth Stream Leader, is part of a five-member team serving children ages 6-12 and 13-18.

Registration remains open for the conference. More information and help making arrangements to attend is on the conference information site.