By: Jason Crosby
The recent article in the Courier-Journal (http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110317/NEWS01/303180005/2010-Census-Minorities-drive-population-growth-Jefferson-statewide) that discussed how minorities are changing the face of Louisville and highlighted our congregation is yet another reminder that the world in which we live in growing smaller and more diverse. This development in Louisville is not an isolated event. Communities all across America have experienced similar demographic shifts. Similarly, many churches across the country have undergone transformations like the one that has transpired at CHBC in recent years. Just because you may not see another church in Louisville that looks like CHBC does not mean that we are alone. Other churches have integrated, not just provided space for, large numbers of refugees and immigrants from Burma into the fabric of their congregational life. Tabernacle Baptist in Richmond, VA (www.tbcrichmond.org), Lake Avenue Baptist in Rochester, NY (www.lakeavebaptist.org), and the First Baptist Church of Battle Creek, MI are just a few Baptist churches that have recently been transformed in ways similar to what has occurred at CHBC. Duane and Marcia Binkley, missionaries who have worked with displaced persons from Burma for decades, have compiled a list of hundreds of congregations that have some type of relationship with refugees from Burma across that country (http://www.karenkonnection.org/db_all_karen_info.php3). This is not just a phenomenon taking place in Baptist churches. All Saints Episcopal Church outside of Nashville has also been reformed by newcomers from Burma (http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-12-01-tenn-church-refugees_N.htm). The influence of newcomers to our communities and congregations is not likely to dissipate anytime soon. As more communities grow more diverse, more churches will have to make a decision to either embrace diversity or resist it. Maybe CHBC has been on the leading edge of these changes, but we are not alone and many other congregations will soon be going down a very similar path.