Derryvolgie Parish has initiated a new cross-cultural project – Global Made Local – with the first events taking place this week.
Spanish classes begin on Thursday November 9 (there is already a waiting list) and a Global Made Local café style event is taking place on November 10 at 7.30pm.
The rector, the Rev James Boyd, explained that the primary purpose of Global Made Local is fostering cross-cultural connections and promoting missional thinking within the context of a changing Ireland.
“We used to send people across the globe to ‘be on mission,’” he said. “The globe has now come to live in our streets and communities and the Church needs to find ways to connect with this new movement of people groups.”
Marcos, a volunteer from Chile, is currently serving in Derryvolgie Parish through SAMS’ FUSION project.
“It was in conversation with Stephen McElhinney, Mission Director for SAMS Ireland, that the seeds for this project were first germinated,” James said. “The Global Made Local project aims to facilitate meaningful engagement between overseas Church ministry volunteers and the ‘New Irish,’ individuals who have recently relocated to Ireland and chosen it as their home.
“By connecting these two groups, we intend to expand the horizons of church ministry beyond traditional boundaries, establishing a welcoming environment for newcomers and promoting cultural exchange, enabling the Church to turn mission on its head.
“Having Marcos with us this year is a pilot scheme that aims to grow the opportunities for connections to be made with likeminded people – after a successful trial period, we hope to broaden the scope of this project and host up to three overseas volunteers from different nations.”
James said the Global Made Local project is not a one-time initiative, but that it represents a vision for a more inclusive and culturally diverse church community in Ireland.
“Through events, programmes and gatherings, we will create a sense of community among the ‘New Irish’ and provide a support system for their transition to life in Ireland.
“By bringing together people from different cultures and backgrounds, we promote cross-cultural understanding and tolerance which in turn will encourage missional thinking within the Church, extending the reach of ministry and embracing overseas diversity.”
The project envisages a process that operates in two complimentary directions – both volunteers involved in the project and newcomers will experience spiritual growth through their interactions, which James said will foster a richer faith experience, which the interns will take back to their respective communities and countries.
Derryvolgie Parish hopes that this will be a collaborative project with others in the Council for Mission and Connor Diocese, enabling interns to be freed up to help other parishes facilitate similar events and structures in order to reach people in their communities.
“It is a significant financial undertaking for us as a parish and we are currently seeking funding to help with the costs. We believe this project is worth the investment as seek to carry the good news of the gospel to the communities that we have been entrusted love and care for,” James said.