The Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network (AMEN) plans to hold a Minority Leaders Conference in Plano, Texas this summer just before the ACNA Provincial Assembly. It will be “a gathering of Anglican clergy and laypersons of color.” But “there is also some space for people who are not ethnic minorities, but minister to them.”
Well, that's nice. I certainly minister to “ethnic minorities” so maybe I should crash this. But I probably will not because I question whether this is an appropriate conference at all. To define a conference around ethnic identities, to make it specifically for people “of color” belongs more on a “woke” college campus than it does in the church in which we are supposed to be one body. To flip it, what if someone held an Anglican conference specifically for people of non-color, for people of paleness?
Their justification – “Because ethnic minorities in the ACNA may feel isolated in their dioceses or churches” – is ironic. Does not such a conference increase separation and isolation from the church as a whole? Does it not divide us by ethnic identity? I thought we were supposed to be “neither Jew nor Greek” for we “are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
I also wonder about one of the stated purposes of this conference – “equip attendees in their mission to assist the Church in embodying the universal saving power of the gospel through multi-ethnic ministry.”
On its face, that sounds great. And I do not want to read minds or assume motives or agendas. But from their own website, it appears that their “multi-ethnic ministry” includes browbeating about white privilege and about not being concerned enough about race. Does AMEN intend to use this conference as a staging ground to obsess so about race at the ACNA Provincial Assembly?
For the sake of Anglican unity, I hope not. The Anglican Church in North American has enough problems sticking together without identity politics being injected into our gatherings. And we desperately need the Provincial Assembly next year to unite us across varieties of churchmanship, politics, and ethnicity, not divide us. May the Minority Leaders Conference further such unity, not division.