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From the Congregants
Walking into a Sunday morning service, the touted racial diversity of the congregation is certainly visible; white and nonwhite congregants sing, pray, and worship together. When asked about the diversity of their church, members consistently explicitly acknowledged it.
Marcia discusses diversity in the community:
"There’s a lot of diversity here. Really, truly I think there is. I think there are a lot of people from different economical backgrounds, but there’s also cultural diversity you know in ethnicity as well. And that’s a big part of it is that there’s so many differences but we can find the common ground."1
Fred comments on other megachurches that he has attended in the area:
- “I think Open Door lost their way; they lost their identity. In the urban area in Robinsdale they were reaching out to a lot of the community, and they went out to Maple Grove and became a suburban church which is totally different. I remember having an awareness, one Sunday I looked around and thought, it’s pretty white!”
- “When I went to Eagle Brook, a couple friends of mine were saying that it was pretty representative of the Minnesota cultures. Yet when I went there, I was looking around too and I’m going, not buying it.”
On Woodland Hills:
- “I’ve always had a heart for people no matter what culture. I was in the Navy, and when I was in the Navy I would have black people that would work with me, for me, whatever. But I always just encouraged them. And if they were Hindu, Filipino, I didn’t care. So this is much more, I think it resonates with Jesus, and I’m trying to stay in that realm.”
When asked if Woodland Hills is more diverse than other churches:
- “Much more so. And it’s much more inclusive.”2
The members interviewed mostly highlighted and praised the diversity of Woodland Hills, but their comments also reveal the complications present in their understanding of race. These anonymous postings below also emphasize the nuance and variety of opinions on multi-racial issues that are present within the congregation.
All these comments were written by congregants in response to the prompt, "What injustices are in your reach?" They were intended to allow reflection on the sermon series Love. Walk. Do., and posted along with reponses to three other prompts on a wall in the auditorium.
Marcia Loween, interveiw by Lillie Schneyer, May 15, 2016. ↩
Fred Dahm, interview by Lillie Schneyer, May 15, 2016. ↩