Saturday, June 06, 2009

Basic etiquette for cross-cultural ministry

[] 6 Jun 2009-- have been surprised to discover that many Sydney Anglicans are not aware of the basic rules when relating to people of other languages and cultures. Our best attempts to reach out cross-culturally can be undermined by not appreciating and understanding these.

1. “They” are not deaf.
When someone from a non-English-speaking background is trying to understand what you are saying, raising the volume of your voice does not help. People of cultures other than your’s are not cursed with deaf ears. You may just need to be aware that the Aussie accent can make it challenging to understand your English. Even friends who have studied English overseas before coming to Australia can struggle, as they may have learned English taught in an American or British or other accent.

Even Christian ministers can be guilty of this. I was shocked to observe a fellow minister attempt to engage a Thai university student in conversation, and after repeating himself twice (the second time at higher volume), roll his eyes, huff and walk off in disgust when the young man failed to fully comprehend him.

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