Introduction to Multiculturalism

What Is Multiculturalism?

Our definition was developed for the Strategic Review of Professional Ministry Report (PDF, 64 pages), a deeply important document that was created through the dedication of many staff members.

Multiculturalism means nurturing a religious community where people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures see their cultural identities reflected and affirmed in every aspect of congregational life—worship, fellowship, leadership, governance, religious education, social justice, etc. Multiculturalism means that we create religious homes where encounters between people of different cultural identities intersect with Unitarian Universalism to create a fully inclusive community where, in the words of a vision statement adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Leadership Council, “all people are welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled.”

Multiculturalism means that one cultural identity does not dominate all other identities; that people are able to participate in their faith community without denying or hiding their cultural identities, that the role of cultural identity is part of pastoral and prophetic ministry; and that leaders have the competency to understand how their multiple identities and socialization influence their values, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and interactions with others.

Multiculturalism means:

  • We welcome each other into shared community just as we are;
  • We welcome the many ways that people define, express, and experience the Holy and respect what is considered sacred in our diverse cultures;
  • We understand public witness and all social justice work as ministry in partnership with communities to make the world more compassionate, equitable and just—a place that is safe, nurturing, supportive, and fair for all people;
  • We support communities and individuals in their search for truth and meaning—and a sense of aliveness—in their quest to make a positive difference in the world;
  • We offer mutual aid and comfort through life’s challenges in ways that meet everyone’s cultural, as well as personal, needs;
  • We recognize that there are many cultural languages (words, symbols, acts) that manifest in worship, fellowship, pastoral care, etc.

Given these meanings for multiculturalism, several questions emerge in our examination of the kind of ministry the multicultural world requires, particularly in developing strategies for preparing religious professionals to cross borders of race, class, culture, and generational differences.

  1. What does a vital, healthy Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation look like through the lens of multiculturalism and full inclusion? What does it feel like?
  2. How do we equip congregational leadership to foster multicultural growth in a multicultural age?
  3. What knowledge, skills, and new behaviors do leaders need to embrace in order to move into this age?
  4. What is the role of the UUA and UU partners in building congregational capacity to grow vital, healthy multicultural congregations that are fully inclusive all people who yearn for a liberal religious home?

Thank you for visiting! Wherever your congregation or community may be on its multiculturalism journey, we invite you to engage with these new resources from Multicultural Growth and Witness:

We also encourage you to read and share the following two-page handout, developed by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond’s Committee for Racial and Ethnic Unity (CREU):