Oxford city is fast becoming more ethnically diverse. It was named in 2018 as the 5th most diverse city in the UK, and in 2021 as having 46% of people who are ‘not of White British origin’. That's a change of 10% (36% to 46%) in just 10 years.
Our estimate is that around 25% of people in OCC wouldn't describe themselves as ‘White British’, and we have around 25 heritages represented in the church. We love it, and are actively encouraging ethnic diversification within the church, as well as in our outreach ministries.
From 2018-2020 we gathered a working group of ethnic minority people in OCC, to look at how the church operates, and ask what could be changed to make belonging, discipleship and involvement in leadership work better for people from other cultures. We also met during the pandemic, critically to reflect on the shocking murder of George Floyd and the resultant wave of heightened awareness of racial justice.
Anderson and Lydia Moyo (Zimbabwe and Sheffield, UK) have been supporting us, as external advisors as well inviting regular input from leaders from our international Salt & Light family of churches. We are enjoying friendship with minority ethnic churches in Oxford (PIWC, Access Church), as well as serving recent arrivals from Hong Kong. Through the Love Oxford network our leaders are connecting with and learning from many leaders from diverse backgrounds.
As Anderson often says to us, God is doing something in Oxford, and in OCC. So, as we refocused after the turmoil of the pandemic, in 2023 we launched ‘Ethne’ (a word used in the Bible meaning ‘peoples’), a team of OCC members from diverse heritages, committed to listening and learning, and increasing intercultural and ethnic integration in our church and our wider involvements.
As OCC, our concern is first a matter of conviction. Deep in God’s heart, and at the core of his Son's reconciling mission is a passion for what the Bible calls “one new humanity in Christ Jesus.” And this is not a removal of cultural difference, or being ‘colour-blind’, but an appreciation, celebration and encouragement of diversity.
If you have questions, ideas or concerns about intercultural matters, and want to get in touch with the Ethne team, please contact the church office, or talk to one of the team.
Updated October 2023