Monday, August 10, 2009

Statement of Welcome

We have a new statement of welcome for Mount Vernon Place. The statement is the result of hours of work by our Reconciling Ministries Task Force and then many people from our congregation who spent an afternoon at the church brainstorming on how we can convey to individuals outside the church that all people are welcome here. It was passed unanimously by our Church Council last Sunday.

As part of the conversation, some people in our congregation have asked why we would need such a statement since "we are and have always been welcoming of all people." The people who have asked this question are right, in part. We have been very welcoming of all people for some time. However, not all churches are welcoming.

There are many places where one is not welcome unless they are dressed a certain way. There are many places where one is not welcome unless they believe a certain thing. There are countless churches where one is not welcome if they are gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual. There are plenty of barriers created by the church - by people who follow Jesus whose arms were wide open to almost all people (he did have a few things to say to the rich).

We want to be truly welcoming of all people. We want people who are outside to know that they will not hear a message of hate or judgment here. We want all people to know that we are seeking to be a grace-filled people who truly want to embody the love of Christ which knows no boundaries.

So, here is our statement of welcome. What does it say to you? Would you feel welcomed here?

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Statement of Welcome

Just as Jesus Christ invited everyone, so we seek to faithfully extend Christ’s life-giving welcome to all people.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church recognizes that diversity is one of the greatest expressions of God’s creativity, presence and grace. As a congregation, we are grateful for the many differences apparent in our community and in our experiences of God.

We welcome all people into the life of this church, and celebrate and give thanks for our diversity of race, ethnicity, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental ability, faith background, economic status, appearance, marital condition, political persuasion, education, and life experience. We hope you will join us as we continue to discover how we can most faithfully include, learn from, and grow with all people in our community.

Gracious God, help us to see what you are doing in your kingdom, and enable us to be part of it. Amen.


Jerry Roberson said...

I like it! I am very blessed to have been a part of drafting this very important statement in the life of our congregation. I look forward to this being a wonderful jumping-off point for us to truly seek to live in a way that eximplifies this statement.

Mandy said...

This is beautiful. Blessings to your faithful congregation of believers as you open your doors and yourselves to transformation by all members of God's creation.