Cleveland Churches Embrace Multi-Culturalism

January 11, 2004

Source: The Plain Dealer

On January 11, 2004 The Plain Dealer reported, "Amid the lamentations over the suburban exodus that has closed or left many city churches as shells of their former selves, some churches are battling back, embracing the racial diversity of the city. First Church, a bastion of predominantly white United Methodism in Northeast Ohio, averages 325 people for Sunday services, 43 percent of whom are nonwhite. That attendance figure is up more than eightfold from two decades ago. At Mega Church, an independent congregation that Blackwell describes as a charismatic church that embraces the Pentecostal experience, the congregation started in 1991 has grown to 1,400. It now holds multiple services each Sunday for a mix of black, white and Latino worshippers. Everyone wants to talk the talk about integrating what figures such as the Rev. Billy Graham and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have called the most segregated hour in America: Sunday morning service time. But congregations such as Mega Church and First Church are walking the walk, providing leadership and worship opportunities across cultural lines."