• Post category:2024 / National

More than 150 Christian leaders gathered at Gateway Church in Leeds on Saturday 20 January for a one day conference to explore how churches can work better interculturally across the nation.

The Intercultural Church and City Transformation event was hosted by a number of organisations including Gather Movement, the Bible Society, Afro Diaspora Mission Network, Churches Together in England, Intercultural Churches, Welcome Churches, Leeds Intercultural Forum, Agape and Share Jesus International.

Rev Osoba Otaigbe, who instigated the event, explained, “The vision is an intercultural church that embraces different perspectives – fostering understanding, respect and unity in Christ. It reflects the picture in Revelation where people from all backgrounds, nations, generations and class will one day worship together harmoniously.”

Stories were shared from various cities across the UK where churches have been working across cultural divides to see their places transformed socially, culturally and spiritually. Insights were shared from Leeds where an Intercultural Forum has been in operation for 20 years with some groundbreaking work with international students and intercultural worship.

Stories were also shared from Liverpool, where churches are collaborating to help every person hear the Gospel, and from London, where roundtable meals were being hosted regularly to listen intentionally to different cultural groups in order to foster better understanding and collaborative working.

Contributors included Les Moir, a key organiser behind the Blessing video, who talked about the importance of intercultural worship; Roger Sutton, who talked about the importance of churches collaborating to see their places transformed; and Rev Joe Kalpoyo, who talked about the move from monocultural and colonial models of church to truly intercultural expressions.

Revd Wu shared insights from the Chinese Church, which is the fastest growing Church in the UK. An estimated 30,000 Christians have migrated from Hong Kong to the UK over the last four years.

Andy Frost, Joint CEO of Gather Movement, reflected, “We mustn’t repeat past mistakes when church doors were closed to the Windrush generation. We must take this opportunity to welcome and to work together intercuturally for the sake of the Gospel.”

Mike Royal, General Secretary, Churches Together in England, commented, “The intercultural church conference brought together a rich tapestry of the church here in England. Great conversations that have only just begun; I am excited about journeying together in the future.”

Following on from the conference, Rev Osoba Otaigbe has developed a number of resources to help church leaders to navigate what is happening interculturally and to support towns and cities in intentionally moving things forward.
Osoba is a Baptist minister who works for the Bible Society as a Church Engagement Manager in North of England and is also on secondment to Gather Movement as an Associate. He is the author of Building Cultural Intelligence in Church and Ministry and the host of Intercultural Church and City Transformation Gathering.

For more information, please visit https://gathermovement.org/intercultural/