Embracing and acknowledging diversity

Scenes from St. Stephen’s diversity-embracing parish.
By on February 1, 2022

Celebrating Black History Month

Following on the success of celebrations of Black History Month last year, we have set Sat. Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. as the day and time for a special diocesan event hosted at Christ Church Cathedral. We hope it will be an in-person service although with the rise in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID, it looks as if we may have the celebrations live-streamed. The planning committee is very grateful to the Diocese and our bishop for making this event possible and for the encouraging and helpful feedback.

Scenes from St. Stephen’s diversity-embracing parish.
Scenes from St. Stephen’s diversity-embracing parish.

Our guest speaker will be Joy Mighty, a professor emerita from Carleton University where she held appointments as associate vice-president, senior scholar for innovation in teaching and learning, and full professor in the Sprott School of Business and the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Her special interests are organizational development and change, as well as equity, diversity. We are fortunate to have her as our guest speaker since she is a much sought-after keynote speaker. 

Dr. Mighty is ideally suited to speak on our 2022 theme, “Embracing and Acknowledging Diversity.” This theme is in support of the launch of “Project Anti-Racism: Advancing Inclusion and Reconciliation in the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa” 

For Christians, the practice of multicultural diversity is motivated by love for God and love of human beings. As peoples from various races, cultures and conditions come to faith in Jesus Christ, He reconciles them to God the Father and therefore to each other. The Church has an inherent and God-given diversity. Knowing this, how can the Church heal the sin of racism and instead help people see each other as sisters and brothers—children of our Heavenly Father? 

The late Emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu expressed his belief that, “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are precisely different in order to realise our need of one another.” Celebrating Black History Month gives us the opportunity to pause and give thanks to God for our diversity and work together for a better world.

Each February gives us a chance to acknowledge the presence among us of people of African descent. I do hope that congregations will select one or more Sundays in order to listen and learn about Black History. I would be pleased to help you with resources or the names of possible guest speakers. We currently have six black clergy licensed to preach in our Diocese and a long list of black lay people with whom I can connect you for a Sunday sermon. Please e-mail me at [email protected] for more information.

On behalf of the Planning Committee, I look forward to seeing you all, at either in person at Christ Church Cathedral or online on Feb. 19.


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