by Pastor Tim | April 5, 2016We think you'll be welcome here. At least, that is our intention.
As mentioned in the cover article of this Tidings, Sunday, April 3, this congregation will celebrate our commitment to being a place of welcome and hospitality to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Sometimes, that commitment gets shortened tojust "All are welcome!" One problem with that shorthand is that lots of communities use that phrase, and lots of people experience a lack fo welcome where a welcome has been proclaimed. I myself was told that I am an abomination by a congregation that had declared that all are welcome. Another challenge is the reality of human diversity. No community can be prepared to hold the diversity of the entire human experience simultaneously. It simply cannot be done.
However, this is no cause for despair. "God loves everyone - no exceptions" is another way this congregtion speaks about our ministry of welcome. God - the infinite source of love, the creator of all, the one in whose image each of us is made - is able to hold every beloved child simultaneously. Through Christ, we have been reconciled to God, meaning that God has removed every barrier between Godself and humanity. And through Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, to remove barriers that exiswt within the human family.
And so, seven years ago, this congregation joined the Reconciling In Christ program, uniting with other Lutheran faith communities who are public and intentional in their welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We will reaffirm that commitment in our worship on April 3, while we recognize that our work is not done. We continue to look for the barriers that exist even within our own congregation. We will continue to prepare ourselves to draw the circle wider still, to be prepared to celebrate an even wider section of the human family. I invite you to join us in that work.
"We think you'll be welcome here. At least, that is our intention." It isn't catchy enough to be on a t-shirt or in a brochure. But hopefully it is honest enough for a newsletter article.
Yours in Christ,