First-generation immigrant clergy serving racially white congregations are becoming increasingly common in Canada, reports the Canadian evangelical magazine Faith Today (July/August).
The experience of foreign and immigrant clergy ministering crossculturally in Canada was relatively rare up until the 1990s. But by 2010, “observers of the Canadian church were talking about this [growing phenomenon] as a sign of ‘missionary rebound,’ a term describing how some regions that used to receive missionaries—for example from Europe and North America—are now sending missionaries back to those places.”
Although no figures are provided on immigrant clergy, writer Peter Bush notes that quite a few of them are arriving in Canada as intentional missionaries. One example of this is a group of 25 Korean Christian families, known as the “K-1” group, partnering with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada to start a ministry to native Canadian populations. Other new immigrant clergy come to Canada as students or on an exchange program and then choose to stay in the country and feel called to minister there.
Still other clergy come to Canada as refugees, some of whom are unable to find ministry opportunities serving congregations of their ethnicity or language group and “end up lead-ing racially mainstream (mostly Anglo-Saxon) congregations. Others make the choice intentionally.” A fourth group consists of new arrivals who became Christians while in Canada and now serve Canadian congregations.
There are cases of missionary rebound across the spectrum of Canadian churches, but the trend is most evident in the Catholic Church, where “for example, nearly one-third of priests in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg are first-generation immigrants.” Bush concludes that congregations with immigrant clergy develop “cul-tural competence” or cross-cultural understanding.
(Faith Today, http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/Page.aspx?pid=282)