review of book on Evergreen LA

July 10, 2008

The Journal of American Ethnic History published Russell Jeung’s book review of Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission by Kathleen Garces-Foley. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.)

Kathleen Garces-Foley’s excellent ethnography, Crossing the Ethnic Divide, recounts the transformation of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles as a congregation seeking to become inclusively multiethnic. … Evergreen is unique in being a primarily pan-Asian congregation that is now reaching out to post–1965 immigrant generations and to its surrounding Latino neighborhood.

In seeking to understand how such an institution might become more multiethnic, Garces-Foley chose Evergreen because it has explicitly taken a color-conscious rather than a color-blind approach to addressing ethnicity. … Significantly, she discovered that Asian American Evergreen members utilized a third racial discourse, one that emphasized the significance of ethnicity in daily matters and organizational affairs. … Evergreen affirmed each member’s ethnic identity.

Read the entire book review.

For another case study of a multiethnic church, Mosaic in Los Angeles, see Gerardo Marti’s A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church. Also see this interview with Gerardo Marti over at The Sixth Sense by Sam Radford.

While both of these books are scholarly academic works (and expensive), both books provide practical insights on what these two churches are doing to live out their vision for a church for all peoples.

For a book that unpacks the Biblical theology, principles, and practices, see Mark DeYmaz‘s book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation (published by Jossey-Bass and Leadership Network.)

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

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