Crossing the Ethnic Divide

April 26, 2007

While here at Q, Pastor Ken Fong (EvergreenLA) showed me a copy of a new book, Crossing the Ethnic Divide Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission by Kathleen Garces-Foley. I’m a little disappointed that the amazon.com book description didn’t name the church, Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, by name [author noted church is named throughout the printed book]:

While religious communities often stress the universal nature of their beliefs, it remains true that people choose to worship alongside those they identify with most easily. Multiethnic churches are rare in the United States, but as American attitudes toward diversity change, so too does the appeal of a church that offers diversity. Joining such a community, however, is uncomfortable-worshippers must literally cross the barriers of ethnic difference by entering the religious space of the ethnically “other.” Through the story of one multiethnic congregation in Southern California, Kathleen Garces-Foley examines what it means to confront the challenges in forming a religious community across ethnic divisions and attracting a more varied membership.

While religious communities often stress the universal nature of their beliefs, it remains true that people choose to worship alongside those they identify with most easily. Multiethnic churches are rare in the United States, but as American attitudes toward diversity change, so too does the appeal of a church that offers diversity. Joining such a community, however, is uncomfortable-worshippers must literally cross the barriers of ethnic difference by entering the religious space of the ethnically “other.” Through the story of one multiethnic congregation in Southern California, Kathleen Garces-Foley examines what it means to confront the challenges in forming a religious community across ethnic divisions and attracting a more varied membership.

In many respects, this book is the counterpart to A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church by Gerardo Marti, which is the book that deconstructed Mosaic LA led by Erwin McManus. Even though both are multiethnic churches, each church has very different vibe and DNA, and being Asian-led is different from Latino-led.

[update: a portion of the book, Crossing the Ethnic Divide, can be previewed via Google Book Search]

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Comments:2 Responses

Find more like this: Asian American, books, church, L2 Blog, multiethnic.

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Reyes-Chow
April 26th, 2007

Looks interesting. $45 though, wowzaas 😉 Hope the Q is going well!

Kathleen Garces-Foley
June 10th, 2008

Thanks for mentioning my book and making the connection with Gerarod Marti’s work on Mosaic. One BIG correction to your post: Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles is the center of attention, named right on the book jacket and in every single chapter!

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