Written by Pastor Kate
At LCM-TC, we pride ourselves on a wide welcome. If you come to pause, we almost always read our Gathering Litany, which includes acknowledging the body of Christ as “conservatives and liberals, city kids and country kids, introverts and extroverts…engineers and english majors, questioning and certain, poor and rich.”
We’ve recently completed a student driven process that makes explicit our welcome to the GLBTQIA+ community on campus and beyond, a community that has historically been marginalized and hurt by the Christian tradition and Christian communities. Our servant leaders and board of directors have adopted the following welcome statement:
We welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all, regardless of race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or relationship status. We welcome all without regard to addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment, socio-economic circumstances, or anything that too often divides us. Our unity is in Christ.
It’s true. All of it. We’re so proud of this statement. And we’re so hopeful about what it means to simply be on the journey towards unity in Christ, a unity that celebrates difference and seeks to be shaped by the uniqueness, beauty and experiences of people who join together in Christian community.
We also acknowledge that we are on a journey towards understanding what it means to be an inclusive and welcoming community in a culture that is increasingly polarized and divided, one that can feel hostile towards difference. Lines of race, class, and geography are becoming difficult to transgress, especially as they take shape in our common political life.
So we need you, all of you, with your uniqueness, beauty, and experiences, to help us discover who God is calling us to be in this time and place. We need your diverse opinions and experiences to help us shape what it means to be an inclusive and welcoming community.
Over the next months, through the summer, and into next Fall, we’ll be intentionally integrating the substance of our welcome statement into our leadership training, event planning, and even into the Gathering Litany – something that has remained unchanged for at least five years. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in being a part of this process…
But before you do any of this, please come to God and Gender tomorrow night, where you can hear theologian and author Austen Hartke tell his story about growing up as a bisexual, transgender person of faith, and bring your questions for a time of compassionate and respectful discussion.
Peace to you today…