Building Lasting Bridges: An Updated Handbook for Intercultural Ministries provides insights from three US-based faith leaders from diverse cultural and denominational backgrounds for understanding and bridging cultural divides. Revised for our time, this book offers a brief theology supporting diversity, followed by reflections from the authors on their personal journeys toward embracing diversity within their faith context. Notably, the authors provide a practical pathway for building bridges, which will support everyone from beginning to advanced builders of bridges. The book features brief, easily accessible chapters with compelling questions for either personal or group reflection that will be perfect for intentional community-building group study or personal growth. A light, easy sense of humor is interspersed throughout the book, bringing some levity to an often-heavy topic. Supplemental materials for reflection and conversation are available online. Whether you are seeking to begin the conversation in your community or looking for inspiration to continue the journey toward the beloved community, this book is for you!
“According to the US Census Bureau, today, the probability that two people chosen at random in the US will be from different racial and ethnic groups is over 60% and as high as 75% in some states. Globally, this diversity index has always been high. Into such a world comes Building Lasting Bridges to help faith leaders navigate and celebrate ministry in the world as it is—a world rich in varied cultures, races, genders, and economic realities. Anyone in leadership, in the church or out, who is interested in becoming more interculturally competent or simply learning how better to build bridges between folks different than you, get this book!”—Dr. James E. Brenneman, President, Berkeley School of Theology
“If you would like to love your neighbor better and don’t know where to start, this book is for you. The authors’ own stories, humor, and blunders set the stage for readers to take risks in developing cross-cultural relationships. Short, easy to read chapters lead readers and congregations through helpful reflections, concrete tools for understanding culture, and suggestions for building a Beloved Community. Questions throughout the book make this a great resource for small group study and/or personal reflection. I recommend this book for individuals and local churches that want to deepen their cultural awareness and build bridges with their neighbors.”— Rev. Theresa Mason, DMin, PhD, Director of Earthen Pot Ministries, retired United Methodist Clergy.
“These three experienced “bridge builders” have written a must-read handbook for anyone engaging in intercultural ministries and as they consider their own personal journey. Read this book—and learn from the experiences, knowledge and, more so, the honesty and wisdom they very openly share and teach as competent guides.”—Rev. Dr. Trinette V. McCray, president, American Baptist National Black Caucus
“Grounded firmly in Scripture’s intercultural vision and buoyed by years of training and experience, the authors set out a vision and practice of intercultural ministry desperately needed in our fractured times. With racism and other exclusionary behaviors on the rise in our nation and the world, Building Lasting Bridges offers the church an invaluable resource in mounting a prophetic witness to God’s Beloved Community today.” —Hendrik R. Pieterse, Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Intercultural Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"Valuable Resource Needed"
“Having worked with the authors for years, I can attest to their professional expertise as well as their passion for developing the Beloved Community in all areas—especially in the congregational setting. Their sharing of their personal experiences adds a layer of greater understanding. Discussion questions after each chapter tremendously aid in broadening one's comprehension. All church leaders, especially those in diverse Annual Conferences, need to read this valuable resource!”—Rev. Barbara G. Horikoshi-Firebaugh
“Increasingly, American society is becoming polarized and segregated. Building Lasting Bridges: An Updated Handbook for Intercultural Ministries is a much-needed resource at this critical racial moment in our nation. Choy-Wong, McSpadden, and Weatherspoon share their wide experiences, wisdom, and deep expertise in how followers of Jesus can not only form relationships across divides but also build beloved communities that last. Step-by-step, they offer easy-to-understand and actionable strategies sensitive to our society’s ethnic and racial dynamics.”—Dr. Russell Jeung, Professor of SF State Asian American Studies and Co-Founder of Stop AAPI Hate
“Building Lasting Bridges offers a treasure chest of resources for living in a multicultural world. We are given a “what is it” and “how to” wealth of insights and tools. Be warned that readers are confronted with the necessity of self-reflection that can be unsettling, affirming and sometimes humorous. In our divided world, self-reflection offers the reward of flexibility, strength, and faith. Thanks to the trio of authors for giving of themselves in this treasure.”—The Rev. Arthur Gafke
“An inspiring and enjoyable read for building healthy Christians in a society of toxic hate. Wong, McSpadden, and Weatherspoon through speaking eloquently from personal experiences have given us a useable and deeply spiritual book. Read this book, which offers personal transformation and enlivens Bible study groups. You will not be disappointed.”—J. Alfred Smith Sr., Pastor Emeritus, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland CA, Professor Emeritus , Berkeley School of Theology, Berkeley CA
“I cannot recall a more urgent plea for “bridge persons” in our local and global society than right now. Because the content comes from persons who have experienced the need for bridge building in their own lives, the questions, exercises, and diagrams come across as real, practical, and life-giving. The brief pithy chapter format is ingenious. I cannot wait to pull this book from its prominent place on my bookshelf and employ it in my own leadership activities. This timely and potentially timeless book is worth the buy.”—Dr. C. Jeff Woods, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA
“Woken to today's tensions of racial reckoning, we are seeking for tools to make a difference! The authors share from their personal journeys of becoming bridge builders that led to real, lasting, and healthier relationships between people and organizations. Relatable stories and clear illustrations invite readers to thoughtfully reflect on transformation and inspire congregations to commit to meeting their neighbors. The key takeaway to becoming a bridge-builder is self-awareness—where all conversions begin. This updated handbook to healing our communities can't come at a better time!”—Rev. Dr. Donald Ng
Kathryn Choy-Wong is an American Baptist Churches ordained minister and co-founder of I-Relate Intercultural Leadership Institute, a non-profit educational and consulting organization dedicated to creating and providing training and tools to support the development of culturally competent leaders.
Lucia Ann McSpadden is the co-founder and director of I- Relate and author of Meeting God at the Boundaries: Cross-cultural/Cross-racial Clergy Appointments and Meeting God at the Boundaries: A Manual for Church Leaders.
Dale M. Weatherspoon, DMin., serves as Senior Pastor of the Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond, CA. As a consultant and trainer, he served as a member of the I- Relate Institute, an Intercultural Leadership Institute, training pastors, lay leaders and church in working interculturally.