To celebrate the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, the Hills Campus held a Multicultural Dessert Night featuring performances, dances, and songs, as well as the mountains of dessert lovingly prepared by our campus’ multicultural communities.
We also interviewed Hills Campus Pastor (Australia), Sam Di Mauro on his Italian heritage, what multiculturalism means to him, and his advice for the next generation.
SEE ALSO: WHY DO WE HAVE A MULTICULTURAL MINISTRY?
Tell us a little bit about your family heritage.
Both my parents were born in in Italy. My dad was born in Sicily and my mum was born in Calabria. Dad moved to Australia when he was 20, and Mum moved when she was 5 years old.
What was it like growing up as an Italian kid in 1980s Australia?
I was proud and embarrassed at the same time when it came to my heritage growing up in the 80s. My Aussie mates had grass in their backyard; we had veggies. They had sport equipment in the garage; we had homemade tomato sauce bottles and a wine press. They brought vegemite sandwiches wrapped in glad wrap to school, and I had Panini Mortadella wrapped in wax paper – today this is called alternative and trendy but growing up it was anything but that.
I was proud that we had a great sense of family and community. I grew up with my cousin and everyone thought they were my own brothers and sisters. We always did things as an extended family.
What does multiculturalism mean to you?
I identify as an Australian with a deep, rich Italian heritage. As Australians we get to enjoy the diverseness of different cultures both within our country and within our church.
Our church is incredibly multicultural, which brings its own rewards and challenges. What do you think some of those are?
I think the rewards are the opportunity to learn about different cultures, and meeting people who are different to you.
The challenges that I see could be learning to find out what affects people’s walks with Christ and how their culture plays a part within that. Also, how people from different cultures see Christianity, and lastly isolation- how do we build an integrated community where people from all backgrounds still have the sense of ONE family.
For the next generation of our church, experiencing other cultures and befriending these cultures are a natural thing. How does this inspire you as an ethnic person?
Growing up it was either you were black or white, Aussie or wog. With my kids they’re growing up with an ‘us’ culture. Our kids aren’t judged based on the colour of their skin or what’s in their lunch box. They’re judged on the merit of their character. My kids aren’t seeing people in the light of where they’ve come from rather from who they are. That was different for me growing up.
What would your advice be to young people juggling their ethnic heritage and their Aussie heritage?
Firstly, be Australian but don’t lose the richness of your heritage. Secondly, identify as an Australian, while embracing the richness of your cultural heritage. Enjoy all the good that comes from your heritage, and be the best Australian you can be.
What could we do as a church community to serve the different ethnic groups around us?
Meet them where they’re at, and provide a place of identity and belonging With our cultural nights we’re bringing a place of belonging as well as helping them transition into church life
And finally, True or False: Italians speak with their hands