Differences That Make a Difference: Defining Self in an Intercultural Context

In 2018 and I embarked on a journey of study on intercultural competency, anticipating that Bowen Theory would play a role in this study. The hope was that I, as the Rector, would be able to lead my English-speaking Episcopal congregation, comprised primarily of white people of European descent, into forming an effective partnership with an Arabic speaking congregation of people from Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine, with whom we were going to share a building. What developed from the study informed my hypothesis that congregational anxiety can be lowered when the congregation establishes its sense of purpose, it’s mission. In particular I have been exploring how commitment to a clearly stated mission of the congregation can function in the emotional process of a congregation in much the same way as a person who defines “one’s-self” functions in a family.

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