In Sydney, we have different ministry networks. There’s our parish networks. Then there’s networks built around shared needs or cultures like Chinese or Korean culture, Uni ministry, hospital or prison chaplaincy. You might even have heard about “Ministry to Muslims” which seeks to understand and serve the Muslim community.
Over the past 6 years in ministry among the Thai community in Sydney, I have never seen anything similar among people of Buddhist-backgrounds, specifically among people from nationally Buddhist southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
This leaves a whole bunch of people, second-generation Christians from these backgrounds, unsure of how to integrate our understandings of families, their traditions and Christian faith. It leaves a bunch of Cambodian, Lao, Burmese and Thai ministers un-released for ministry or under-supported in ministry. It leaves the local church misunderstanding and often overlooking the evangelism and discipleship needs of poeple from these backgrounds, and in turn, missing out on the blessings having them within our communities.
I want to see a ministry network built up which understands and responds to the evangelism and discipleship needs of people from Buddhist cultural backgrounds. A network which supports local churches in to understand meet the spiritual needs shared by people from Buddhist backgrounds, particularly from southeast Asia, and to capitalise on the gifts this kind of background brings to Christian community and theology.
***The first step toward this goal is to hear their stories***
I would love to create a 9-episode web-series to accompany my 2020 Anglican Deaconess Fellowship Project (www.deaconessministries.org.au/amanda-mason-fellow)
This will cost an additional $20,000 for a team consisting of a producer, videographer and editor to meet, interview and produce high quality material for distribution in our churches and on social media which gives voices to the untold stories of Buddhist background Christians.
The interviewees will include articulate non-Christians of South East Asian Buddhist cultural backgrounds who have experience of Australian churches, SEA background Christian ministers who are under-supported and not released for ministries and Australian Christians of SEA backgrounds illustrating specific evangelism and discipleship challenges which are unique to their cultural situation.