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National Advisory Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The who, what, where, and why of the DEI council.

By Jeff Broadnax and Dishon Mills

What is the Council’s mission? GCI’s National Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (or D.E.I. Council) is a fellowship of local ministry leaders who advise the Superintendent of North America on ways to live out the gospel through unity, belonging, and racial healing in all our U.S. churches. We address injustice, hatred, and division by developing strategies that help cultivate mutual understanding and respect. We present these strategies as recommendations to the superintendent. By the Holy Spirit, we seek to intentionally and proactively follow Jesus’ example and teaching, valuing every human being as an adopted child of the Father.

What is the Council’s vision? GCI’s National Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sees our denomination reflecting the diversity in unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit. GCI will boldly proclaim that Jesus, who is revealed in Scripture as the embodiment of the gospel, is the end of the sins of injustice, hatred, oppression, and division and provide ways in which believers can practically live out their faith. Our congregations celebrate differences and welcome people from all backgrounds, valuing their stories. Our members are peacemakers, and our congregations spread faith, healing, and community.

What is the Council’s biblical foundation? The D.E.I. Council bases its efforts on the Bible’s exhortation to participate in Christ’s work to make peace, bring unity, and reconcile the world. Our foundational passage is from Ephesians 4.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV)

How does the Council support GCI’s vision of healthy church?

Faith Avenue (Discipleship): Reconciliation is for all. Christians are invited to participate in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.  Following this recommendation will help our members be peacemakers.

Hope Avenue (Worship): Our churches are for all. This recommendation will help our congregations be welcoming environments for all — where all stories are heard and valued.

Love Avenue (Witness): Jesus is good news for all. As we ask our congregations to engage their communities, we should take steps and training to ensure that personal biases do not prevent members from engaging groups they may see as different. This recommendation will equip congregations to cross cultural barriers.

Who are the Council members? Jeff Broadnax and Dishon Mills (coordinators), Kairis Colter-Chiari (Sacramento, CA), Karina DeLeRosa (Santa Ana, CA), Philip Doele (Decatur, GA), Bermie Dizon (Glendora, CA), Jose Lopez (Hawthorne, CA), Tommie Grant Jr. (Ladson, SC), Tamar Gray (Cleaveland, OH), Terry McDonald (Kansas City, MO), John Newsom (Queens, NY), Gabriel Ojih (Richardson, TX), Celestine Olive (Lancaster, CA), Ron Washington (Livonia, MI)

How is the Council implementing diversity training? After much prayer and research, we settled on Mile’s McPherson’s The Third Option Similarity Training. This is a Christ-centered inclusive approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In Phase 1, we started with a training session for our original council members, GCI Board, and Home Office staff, which includes the regional directors. In Phase 2, we moved toward training a group who can train pastors and ministry leaders. These include Jeff Broadnax, Dishon Mills, Bermie Dizon, Tamar Gray, Gabriel Ojih, John Newsom, Terry McDonald, Ron Washington, and we’ve added Michael Mitchell (Kingston, Jamaica), and Susan McKie (Lake Tahoe, NV). Phase 3 training, which consists of sIx sessions, will begin in 2024 at our Regional Gatherings and other locations.

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