Massachusetts Baptists Multicultural Ministries, Inc. (MBMM), a newly formed non-profit organization.
Vision Statement: “Weaving God’s Love across Cultures”
Mission Statement: The mission of Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries is to build intercultural relationships by sensitizing and celebrating rich cultural, ethnic and national diversity. The organization provides cultural adjustment and multicultural training and appropriate support and assistance to refugees, other New Americans, churches, civic bodies and community based organizations.
Purpose: MBMM’s purpose is to build relationships with new immigrant churches, including refugees, in order to understand the plight and needs of these communities and to provide appropriate assistance. MBMM will provide training, courses, workshops and conferences for individuals, lay and pastoral leaders on multicultural subjects such as ethnicity, identity, inter- and intracultural issues, intergenerational issues, Baptist polity, ethics, and cultural adjustment. MBMM shall facilitate meeting various needs of refugees in cultural sensitivity, adjustment and settlement. MBMM will also conduct programs that provide opportunity for multicultural learning for all who celebrate cultural and ethnic diversities.
MBMM originated in 2007 with a $10,000 grant from Massachusetts Baptist Charitable Society to fund support of ethnic clergy in obtaining standing with the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM). This outreach was understood in the context of a ministry of hospitality and welcome and was undertaken in memory of Mr. Albert Dean, long-time member of the Charitable Society Executive Committee and a supporter of our ethnic communities. The Rev. Mar Imsong, Th.D., was chosen to implement the ministry.
The outreach began immediately to bear fruit and, with many more needs emerging, the Boston Baptist Social Union in 2010 provided a major grant to expand the ministry. Thus, steps were taken to develop a 501(c)3 organization known as Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries to receive monies, hire an Executive Director, and continue to tend the soil of ethnic and refugee ministries with the hope of further fruitfulness in the ministry. The Rev. Mar Imsong, Th.D., performing such service with excellence, vision and diligence, was called to be the first Executive Director of the organization.
The cutting edge of growth in the American Baptist Churches in recent years has been within the immigrant and minority populations. Our churches throughout the nation and especially in the urban contexts are being confronted with both the challenges and new opportunities for ministry to these groups. The 2000 US Census revealed that more than 10% of the USA population is "foreign-born." A quick look around our local supermarket is likely to confirm that our community is alive with peoples and languages from around the world.
The name and vision for Multicultural Ministries come out to strengthen the denominational network with the ethnic churches in Massachusetts, the brain child of the Massachusetts Baptist Charitable Society called the Al Dean Initiative of Ethnic Inclusion in the summer of 2008. Now we have the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts, Boston Baptist Social Union, First Baptist Church of Bedford, Massachusetts Baptist Charitable Society, and Andover Newton Theological School all partnering together for multicultural ministries in our region. The goals are simple:
- to share the good news about Jesus Christ with all people and to build the body of Christ,
- to encourage churches in ABC-USA to reach out in our ministry of hospitality to their ethnic neighbors, especially to ministerial leaders helping them in the process of ministerial standing and ordination in our denomination,
- and to share the faith stories of followers of Jesus from around the world.
Ethnocentrism seeks to divide us, but followers of Jesus have a message of peace, friendship, hospitality and hope for our neighbors. We must affirm the fact that God loves all people and that He wants us to love each other.
The Multicultural Ministries team advocates that churches will reach out in friendship to the ethnic minority group. Get to know them. Be a friend, with no other agenda, and God's love will shine through. God is so big, and He has revealed Himself in many ways to other cultures - it is a joy to learn more about Him through their lives. Perhaps your church can partner with a new ethnic church, sharing youth activities, exchanging pastors occasionally, exchanging ideas about local mission projects, informal gathering and fellowship, etc. You will be much richer for the experience!
When we look at the church at Pentecost - the one church that God Himself instituted as a model for His people - we remember its rich variety of cultures and languages. The Bible tells us that people were there from every country in the known world. The ministry affirms that the diversity is in the very DNA of the Church!
We have a few ethnic pastors who have received standing in the denomination and many pastors who are in the pipeline for ministerial standing. Also we've conducted ethnic pastors’ conferences and attended regional programs and meetings. There are many programs being planned and we look forward to another productive and rewarding year. We covet your prayers for these ministries.