Kerygma Consultants in Intercultural Communication
By Chuck & Barbara Grimes
Our mission is to foster transformational communication (kerygma) by assisting churches and others who serve among marginalized or minority language communities. We facilitate the development and implementation of language-based programs designed to enhance communication as the physical, social and spiritual needs of people are addressed.
Why it is important to address the language factor in ministry and education? There are over 7,000 living languages in the world, yet minority languages and identities are critical factors often overlooked in the decisions made by church leaders, educators, and government officials. In multilingual contexts like eastern Indonesia, people who speak traditional or otherwise marginalized languages are often considered to be backward, uncivilized and uneducated. Because their languages are not associated with progress, political power and modernization, they often experience social disadvantage and marginalization in religious, educational and economic contexts, which further contributes to a vicious cycle of low self-esteem and more disadvantage. In church contexts this often results in shallow discipleship and low levels of Biblical literacy.
Embracing the use of minority language Bible translations and other material not only increases the effectiveness of communication, it also strengthens local identities and helps overcome the social disadvantage caused by chronically low levels of literacy and education.
West Timor, Indonesia: where a large church denomination embraces its multilingual context
The GMIT church (Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor) has invited us to work with them at their Language and Culture Unit. GMIT is one of the largest denominations in Indonesia, with around 1,400,000 members, 46 presbyteries, 2300 congregations, and 1,600 ordained ministers, whose members speak around 70 languages. GMIT increasingly values the role of local languages in transformational communication (kerygma).
We are working with GMIT to implement language-based programs which include training and mentoring local people to develop high quality Bible translations, hymns, liturgies, Sunday school and other materials. GMIT has over 400 rural church schools scattered throughout the islands and mountains in the region, and we are working to develop pilot projects for multilingual education in 5 languages for 30 pre-schools and elementary schools.
By treasuring their languages and implementing these programs, GMIT envisions that these efforts will strengthen Biblical literacy and spiritual growth through the languages most effective for meaningful discipleship, and begin to address the social, economic and educational disadvantages their members experience. They also recognize that mutual respect among diverse ethnolinguistic groups contributes to stable and healthy churches and societies.
Recently we have working with GMIT's Covid-19 Response Team to develop health information in 16 local languages.
Hawaii: where English is the dominant language, but Pidgin creates a sense of local identity
The translation of the Bible into Hawaii Pidgin was recently completed. The Pidgin Translation Group has requested our assistance as they launch and promote this new Bible among churches and ministries for local Pidgin speakers.
Thank you for considering a donation to help us assist these important ministries.
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