Every church, maybe even person, claims to be welcoming. We welcome everyone. At least that is what is said, printed in bulletins, and put on street signs. How true is it?
The “welcome” question is a good one for us to keep in front of us. We need to ask this of ourselves and of the community in which we share at St. James. Not only that, but we need to ask it of those outside our doors.
Many in our community feel estranged from the Christian community. The demographic data that we are using in our strategic planning suggests that those who live in the area surrounding the St. James building and don’t attend church feel like the church is a place of judgment. They yearn to be welcomed as they are without having to fit into some predetermined mold.
Throughout this Fall, we have been having a variety of conversations around welcome. This are extremely important for the vitality and mission of St. James.
At the September meeting, St. James Council approved the opening of conversation surrounding a resolution about a welcome statement for consideration at the Annual Meeting. The text of that resolution is as follows: Guided by the grace of God, as we live out our vision to build and deepen relationships with God, each other, and our neighbor, St James welcomes all regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, or socioeconomic status. Our Unity is in Christ.
Using the Unique Conversation format that we developed a few years ago, we will be discussing this draft resolution on Sunday during the Adult Sunday School hour. I hope that you can join me this week, November 10 11:00-11:45 a.m.
I am optimistic about the ongoing conversations that they will continue to be spirit-filled, fruitful, and help us by the Grace of God to further live into our vision to build and deepen loving relationships with God, each other, and our neighbors.
As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship,
In Christ’s Light,