People often ask me what is the One People Commission (OPC) and what is our work all about?

Two questions that can perhaps help explain the work of the OPC are firstly, if Britain is multicultural and multi-ethnic, what sort of church and mission strategy does the church need to engage such a diverse society? Secondly, if society and church are wrestling with the sin of racism and otherness’ of our neighbours, how can the church develop a radical approach that can address the sin of racism both in church and society?

These two interrelated questions set the tone for the work of OPC, as we reflect on its genesis. The conversation that led to the start of OPC started in 2010 with a prophetic challenge from senior Black church leaders such as Bishop Wilton Powell (former National Overseer of the Church of God of Prophecy) and Pastor Agu Irukwu (senior pastor
of Jesus House). The challenge at an Evangelical Alliance council meeting was to make the Evangelical Alliance more racially diverse and to address the need to reflect and represent the diversity within the UK church. This led to conversations and consultations over a two-year period (2010 – 2012). Whilst we as the Evangelical Alliance have made progress and churches in the UK have come a long way in welcoming people of different ethnicities and cultures into our churches, we still have a lot of work to do. 

Britain, as a multicultural postmodern society, demands a diverse economy of churches to help engage that diverse mission field. This in effect means that one community of church cannot reach or engage with the multifaceted issues emerging from a contested multicultural society. 

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My desire is to help the church further engage and reach multicultural Britain, and to do this it requires an intercultural missionary movement. The work of OPC therefore exists to catalyse this mission movement through church leader roundtable conversations, conferences, resources and networking. 


Intercultural Church Conversation 

One of our initiatives that reflects this approach is the Intercultural Church Conversation (ICC) which was set up with other partners and stakeholders to centre the significance of developing intercultural churches in the UK. The Intercultural Church Conversation has four key goals: opening up dialogue amongst church leaders, providing leadership support, resourcing the church and working with theological colleges. Through conferences, we aim to educate and equip leaders to think and act more interculturally within their own churches, organisational settings and personal interactions on a day-to-day basis. These online and in-person events highlight and address the following areas:

  • Intercultural worship
  • Intercultural mission
  • Intercultural pastoral care
  • Intercultural leadership
  • Intercultural diaspora

ICC Leadership Consultation 

The ICC Leadership Consultation, first formed and gathered last year, brings together national church leaders across the UK who are involved in intercultural church work in their different streams and denominations. The aim of this leadership consultation is to highlight these broad aims: 

  1. Connect national leaders engaged in the intercultural church movement. 
  2. Understand one another’s spheres of engagement. 
  3. Agree broad goals for ongoing co-operation. 
  4. Identify specific steps we can take together. 

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Resources

We have a wealth of resources available to our members that promote, equip and encourage churches across the UK to develop their intercultural church practices both internally and externally. One of the resources we have produced in collaboration with London City Mission is the Everyday evangelism’ podcast and video discussion on intercultural church. Another project we are currently developing is a booklet that will explore intercultural theology, church and justice.

Work with theological colleges

Lastly, we aim to work with and alongside theological colleges in the UK to introduce, embed and implement intercultural practices in the heart of mainstream theological training. Currently, there are not a huge amount of intercultural theological training modules in mainstream theological colleges. We believe that change must be implemented from all streams of the church and therefore training should be made available and included as an essential for all those stepping into a leadership role in a church, Christian charity, organisation or community.

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We are working tirelessly to address racism in church and society. We are constantly having conversations on the issue of race and racism to better understand it and help evangelical Christians and churches, and have commissioned a survey to reflect the attitudes and practices towards race within the UK evangelical church. We are hoping to release a report of the research and a suite of resources in response, to help our churches on this journey. It is hoped that this piece of work will help our churches develop some theological responses that can shape our church practices around radical hospitality to help address the sin of racism.

Doing all the day-to-day hard work for these projects is a dedicated staff team of five (including one secondment from South Asian Concern). Please do keep us in your prayers as we work towards a vision of intercultural unity, intercultural churches and intercultural justice.

Related pages:

One People Commission

One People Commission

Uniting the ethnically and culturally diverse church, in all its vibrant expressions Find out more
Membership

Membership

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