Guest / Limited Access /

Jane Hollingsworth had a problem. A staff worker with parachurch college ministry InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), she needed to find a facility to host her student conference. But given the cultural climate of America in the 1940s, her group of white and black students was rebuffed again and again.

When even key IVCF supporters questioned her decision to include black students, the organization's board took a radical stance. In June 1948, it resolved not to hold any events at a facility discriminating against people of color. The resolution went on to say: "Since colored people tend to relate segregation and the Christianity which we represent, we must demonstrate that in Christ there is neither black nor white."

Although Christian organizations have made progress in the area of race relations since the 1940s, they continue to wrestle with the challenge of demonstrating that Christianity is not merely a segregated domain. Promise Keepers' emphasis on racial reconciliation is perhaps the most public expression of this desire. But on a day-to-day level, Christian leaders are often unsure of how exactly to make the dream of racial diversity a reality.

IVCF, however, is one organization that has actively pursued multiethnicity, both internally and through its ministry. Thirty years ago, 4 percent of its staff and students were ethnic minorities. Today those percentages have grown to 16 percent (for staff) and 35 percent (for students), which compares favorably with the national average of 27 percent of all college students who identify themselves as ethnic minorities. The diversity was reflected in the dizzying multicultural representation of participants at its triennial Urbana Student Mission Convention on December ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedA United Evangelical Response: The System Failed Eric Garner
A United Evangelical Response: The System Failed Eric Garner
What pastors, professors, and others are saying about the grand jury's decision not to indict.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
"One Lord, One Faith, Many Ethnicities"
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.