Recent shifts have resulted in a name change for USMB’s Integrated Immigrant Ministries and the dissolution of a related part-time USMB staff position, though USMB’s commitment to partner with immigrant churches remains steadfast, according to USMB National Director Don Morris.
CORD is the new umbrella term for USMB’s partnership with immigrant churches, including both the CORD Program and the continued work of the CORD Committee, previously known as the Integrated Immigrant Council.
The CORD acronym describes USMB’s partnership with immigrant churches:
- Connecting immigrant churches to resources and other congregations within our MB family.
- Organizing and assisting with establishing a stable place of worship.
- Retooling through biblical training and educational resources centered around our USMB Confession of Faith.
- Developing pastors and key leaders capable of shepherding a healthy church.
The rebranding change was made to eliminate confusion from having multiple names and acronyms for USMB’s immigrant ministries.
“We had all these acronyms,” Morris says. “Integrated Immigrant Ministries (IIM), Integrated Immigrant Council (IIC), Integrated Immigrant Coordinator. CORD is now our immigrant ministry.”
A refreshed CORD logo signifies these changes. The logo is similar to the IIM logo but incorporates strands of rope into the design, a reference to Ecclesiastes 4:12, which reads, “…a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
At the recommendation of the National Strategy Team, at its October 2023 meeting, the USMB Leadership Board made the decision to dissolve the part-time position of Integrated Immigrant Ministries Coordinator because of lack of funding. The position was funded by USMB and the Central, Pacific, Southern and Eastern District Conferences, and all districts but the Eastern withdrew their support, opting instead to use their limited resources for efforts directly benefitting immigrant churches in their districts.
Henri Ngolo has held the role of IIM Coordinator since Nov. 1, 2022. He will conclude his service as a paid USMB staff member on Dec. 31, 2023, after which, he will continue his work on a volunteer basis. Part of the challenge was that the work across districts had become too large for one part-time person, Morris says.
Henri has done a good job with the limited time he’s had to devote to this ministry,” Morris says. “He didn’t have adequate time to engage with immigrant churches in the Pacific, Central and Southern districts. It really needs to be a full-time position, in my opinion. This then became about how to best use limited funds as we minister to immigrant churches through both districts and nationally.”
The Eastern District Conference continues its support of Ngolo and CORD. Ngolo will continue connecting with immigrant churches as a liaison between the Eastern District and Congolese churches. The hope is to reimburse Ngolo for some of his expenses as he continues his work with immigrant churches, Morris says, adding that donations to CORD could provide a stipend for Ngolo.
USMB remains committed to partnering and building relationships with immigrant congregations, with the CORD Committee offering leadership and support for immigrant churches, says chair Terry Hunt. District representation on the committee consists of Hunt, Morris, Ngolo, Garry Prieb, Doug Hiebert and Daniel Rodriguez, with a need to fill a position from the Southern District.
“The USMB commitment is still strong and building relationship with immigrant churches,” Hunt says.
USMB will continue to partner with immigrant churches through the CORD Program, now an initiative of CORD, which provides funding for biblical training, establishing a stable place of worship, pastoral development and connection to resources and other congregations.
The first church to receive CORD funding, Christian Center the Hand of God in Hamilton, Ohio, is $300 short of being fully funded. Funding for one church costs $55,500, and MB Foundation is committed to matching up to $27,750 donated for this program.
For more information, contact Terry Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.