On Saturday 5 October, Socketts Heath Baptist Church in Grays hosted a Multicultural Day.

Put on in collaboration with Transformation Thurrock, this was a workshop developed by Bob & Mary Bain of the Welcome Network designed to help churches “to build a bridge of love across the cultures in your local community.” It was billed as “an opportunity to go beyond our cultural frustrations or just plain old ignorance.”

The workshop was attended by 26 people of a variety of ethnicities representing 10 Christian fellowships from across Thurrock.

MD 7The day opened with a discussion about what it means to be all in one family and the power of unity. Delegates were asked to get into small groups and share their best experiences of being in a multicultural setting. Also discussed was how to change mindsets and practices, with tips on how to practical ways on how to welcome and engage people of cultural backgrounds or ways of ‘doing’ church other than our own. Another section was based on the famous phrase that Jesus used, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, with more small group work.

“Often our churches and mission efforts are pale, mon-chrome versions of the rainbow,” said Bob, “It’s time to be intentional and passionately welcoming and hospitable. It’s time to allow people we don’t find easy to understand, or like, into our cosy, home-grown versions of what we think church should look like.”

MD 4Transformation Thurrock would like to thank Rev Ashley Lovett and Socketts Heath Baptist Church for their warm welcome and generous hospitality, and Bob, Mary and their team for what was a highly informative, challenging and successful morning. God’s family should be inclusive of ethnic origin and cultural backgrounds – and that can only mean good news for a borough as diverse as Thurrock.

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We hope at some point in the future to invite the Welcome Network back to Thurrock to hold a follow-up workshop.

Photo below left shows Ashley with Bob, Mary and their helpers Gemma & Steve Carder.

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