‘Learning to live together’ inside the Big Tent
Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation’s goal is greater visibility
June 23, 2011
Editor’s note: The second gathering of the Big Tent will be in Indianapolis June 30-July 2. Billed as a family reunion, the event will “celebrate the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).” The Big Tent is comprised of nine conferences, and participants can register for workshops in as many conferences as they choose. Worship, keynote speakers and an exhibit hall will also be part of the event.
Sterling Morse calls this year’s Big Tent event his “maiden voyage.”
Less than a year ago the former Washington, D.C., pastor became coordinator of Racial Ethnic and Cross-cultural Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s General Assembly Mission Council. He will give a keynote Speech July 1 at the Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation, part of the Big Tent in Indianapolis.
Morse credits the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for the title of his speech, “The World House.” King used the term in his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community. He described “the world as a house where we all have to learn to live together,” Morse explains.
“I use ‘world house’ as a metaphor for PC(USA) cross-cultural ministry,” Morse says. It’s a vision of “working together in a growing church, as opposed to all of us in our separate little rooms.”
Other events at the Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation include:
- A celebration and dinner featuring presentations from various cultures;
- A workshop on the implications of the recently approved New Form of Government for new immigrant congregations;
- A progress report from the Climate for Change Task Force, which is reviewing affirmative action/equal employment opportunity, contracting and purchasing policies of the PC(USA) in order to bring recommendations to the 220th General Assembly next summer;
- Meetings of the National Asian Presbyterian Council, the National Black Presbyterian Caucus and other constituent groups.
“We want to make the work of racial ethnic and new immigrant ministries more visible out in the church,” says Morse. He hopes the convocation at Big Tent will “promote more unity and collaboration in mission among the various caucuses, in order to show a truer face of the PC(USA).”
Eva Stimson is editor of Presbyterians Today magazine. She will be covering the Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation at Big Tent for Presbyterian News Service.