Photo: Chris Meehan
Painting by artist Peter Reitsma celebrates All Nations Heritage Week.
Photo by Chris Meehan

Plans are for people to have the chance to choose from different colors of bread as part of the Lord's Supper during the All Nations Heritage Service this Sunday at CrossPoint Church in Brampton, Ontario.

"We see this as a way to symbolize the multicultural nature of Christ's church," said Rev. Richard Grift, pastor of the Christian Reformed Church congregation.

The service will also feature a mixture of music and a message by Colin Watson, the CRC's director of ministries and administration.

"The theme of our service is 'The Whole Enchilada,' which is the whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world," said Grift.

Besides the evening service, which is being held on behalf of Classis Toronto, CrossPoint will be offering a potluck of ethnic food desserts, said Grift.

Classis Toronto, he said, has been been holding these services at different churches for many years to celebrate the area’s growing cultural heritage.

All Nations Heritage Week, which ends Sunday, is "a synodically approved celebration of the expanding and enriching ethnic diversity that more and more encompasses the CRCNA," says information from the CRC's Office of Race Relations.

This annual celebration provides opportunity for congregations and classes to celebrate, promote and remember God’s racially and ethnically diverse world.

"It is easy in the day-to-day world to become self-absorbed by our own congregation and our own circumstances," said Watson, who will speak at the service from Mark 10:19 in which Jesus issues the Great Commission.

"All Nations Heritage Week is a kind of celebration that reminds us that it is not all about us, but it about God's command to be reaching out by God's grace to others."

Watson also said it is important to realize — and to celebrate — the reality that the world is coming to the doorsteps of churches in communities across North America.

This offers churches the chance to share the gospel right in their own neighborhoods, he said.

Grift said his church reflects this reality; it has members from and seeks to serve people from about 25 different nations.

"About 70 percent of our members are white," he said. “The next biggest group are people from India and Pakistan. We also have people from Nigeria, England, the Caribbean and many other places as well.”

Grift said he hopes people from various ethnic groups — from his church and other congregations — will wear traditional clothing from their homelands as part of Sunday’s service and celebration.

In addition, he said, the service itself will include words to honor the culture of First Nations people, many of whom faced abuses as they were forced to assimilate over the years into the predominately white culture. "We want to intentionally value their presence," he said.

The CRC recommends that churches this Sunday take up a special collection to be used to award scholarships to Christian Reformed students in CRC colleges and Calvin Seminary to support their development as multicultural leaders in the Christian Reformed Church.