A Multicultural Congregation
Worshippers and members at Ascension hail from many different countries and cultures, and speak a dozen or more languages at home. The three largest concentrations are from America, Nigeria, and southern Sudan, but there are also folk from many other countries and cultures who worship around one altar at Ascension. In addition, several of our ministries deliberately reach out to those working to integrate into life in America.
The multicultural character of the congregation is evident at most of our weekly worship services. Though the main services are conducted in English, lay ministers are drawn from all of our cultures, and worship elements, especially from the Nigerian (in the Igbo language) and Sudanese (in the Dinka language), are incorporated as well.
Special classes, worship services, and fellowship events highlight the cultural and linguistic diversity of Christ’s Body at Ascension:
- An Igbo language Bible Study for adults meets during the education hour at 9 am each Sunday.
- A Dinka language worship service (Morning Prayer on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays, Holy Communion on the 1st Sunday) takes place in the nave (the worship space) each Sunday at noon.
- English as a Second Language classes are offered, in partnership with the Wilkinson Center, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. Childcare is available.
- African Night is a worship service in various African languages, with African music, followed by an African feast. African Night takes place each year on one summer Sunday.
- Multicultural Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and includes a traditional danced offering led by the Igbo members of the congregation. This service takes place at 10:15 am on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day.
- An Intergenerational Palm Sunday Procession includes an outdoor procession with Palm Sunday songs sung in Igbo, Dinka, Spanish and English by the parading congregation. (Sometimes a donkey joins the celebration!)
- Ascension Day (the 40th Day after Easter Sunday) begins with a multicultural potluck and includes the best worship offerings of each part of the congregation.
We believe that people of many cultures worshipping together is part of God’s design – a symbol of the reconciled community initiated by Jesus Christ’s reconciling work.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-10)