National training to help churches see ‘God’s Image in Many Faces’


Six speakers are on the program for "Celebrating Ethnic Diversity: God’s Image in Many Faces," offering multiethnic ministries training on Nov. 2-4 in Oklahoma City, at Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The program is especially geared to United Methodist church planters, potential planters, existing church pastors, seminarians, and annual conference leaders.

The Path 1 training is hosted by the denomination’s Discipleship Ministries. Local coordinators are Carlos Ramirez, Oklahoma’s associate director of Leadership and Innovation; and Elaine Robinson with Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University.

This training attracts participants from across the nation. Rev. Ramirez said about 150 people attended a previous event, held in another state.

Registration cost is $250. Seminary students may attend for $199. A discounted hotel housing rate is available until Oct. 11.

To register:  On Twitter: #BridgesNotWalls.

Speakers will include:

Brian Leander, assistant director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University, Long Island, N.Y. He also served as organizational strategist with the Church Resource Ministries (CRM) ReFocusing Team. He specialized in training, coaching, and developing leaders for cross-cultural ministry.

Cleve May, a pastor at CityWell UMC, a 5-year-old multiethnic and economically diverse congregation in Durham, N.C. He believes multiethnic congregations have the potential to tell the truest Gospel story and that these churches must work rigorously to embody an antiracist theology.

Gloria Winston-Harris, the pastor of CityWell UMC and director of the Office of Spiritual Development and Dialogue at North Carolina Central University in Durham. She has worked in law enforcement, including service with the FBI. The UM clergywoman has ministered in some of the most impoverished communities in the United States and South Africa. She has been a college chaplain, hospital chaplain, and lead pastor of two churches.

Rodrigo Cruz, who left a career in law to follow a call into ministry. He is lead pastor of a multiethnic church plant called The Nett Church, a parachute drop in Lilburn, Ga., that seeks to reflect on Sunday mornings the diversity of the school systems throughout the week.

In-Yong Lee, a native of South Korea, an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference. She pastors Cokesbury UMC, Charlotte, N.C. She is passionate about multiethnic ministry and about raising multicultural awareness and competency in an increasingly diverse society. She is a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters of the General Conference.

Rev. Dr. Robinson, dean of Saint Paul School of Theology, with campuses at OCU and in Leawood, Kan. She has pastored two churches: Nazareth UMC in Winder, Ga., and Nueva Vida UMC in Fort Worth, a bilingual congregation.


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