Many peoples, one church

Racial Ethnic Convocation at Big Tent to celebrate customs, cultures, worship styles

June 3, 2009

Atlanta

“We’re here!” says the Rev. Hector Rodriguez, General Assembly Council associate for Hispanic congregational enhancement.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Racial Ethnic Convocation — planned as part of the first-ever Big Tent event — will celebrate the many voices, customs and styles of worship as the denomination strives to reach a goal of 20 percent racial ethnic membership by 2010.

Scheduled for June 11-13 in Atlanta, the convocation’s events will allow time for participation in common Big Tent activities.

The four main sessions of the convocation have been organized as consecutive “acts of the same production or play,” said Mission Communications associate Beth Newberry.

Friday afternoon’s opening worship will focus on ritual, forgiveness and being made anew.

Later, racial ethnic participants will share in stories of faith and hopefulness.

Dinner with the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) and pastor of the Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco, will offer an opportunity to break bread as a whole body of racial ethnic Presbyterians.

On Saturday morning, the Rev. Magdalena Garcia, former recipient of the PC(USA)’s Women of Faith Award and pastor of a multicultural congregation in Chicago, will bring the four-part journey to a close with a worship service centered on the themes of unity and affirmation of faith.

Additional workshops will be offered throughout the weekend — many of them in multiple languages.

For more information and registration materials for the Big Tent event, visit the Big Tent web site. Hotel registration is separate.

Sue Boardman is a Presbyterian pastor and free-lance writer in Atlanta. A former editor of Monday Morning magazine, she will be covering the Racial Ethnic Convocation for PNS.

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