For our church, there’s a crucial distinction between “all” and “some.” We believe, and we proclaim, that Jesus Christ has called all people to enjoy grace, forgiveness, and new life. Not just some.
It may seem cliché to drive past church signs that say “All are Welcome.” It will be revealed as crassly hypocritical if someone’s personal experience contradicts that slogan. Unquestionably, someone intending to commit violence toward our people would find our welcome short-lived. Someone prone toward child abuse or sexual assault among us would only be welcomed far apart from our gathering. Nevertheless, according to our expressed policy, as well as the earnest endeavors of our people, we sincerely declare that just as Jesus Christ welcomes all, so do we.
Suppose we were to extend our notion of inclusiveness beyond our walls. Hasn’t the quarantine experience underscored our belief that the church isn’t defined by or confined to a building? So, what if we were to broaden the scope of our conviction and say, not only does our church welcome all (not just some), but we’re committed to seeing that all (not just some) find a welcome place in our society?
We want all children to know deeply that they’re welcomed into this world.
We want all persons with disabilities to know deeply that they have a welcome place in our society.
We want all homeless individuals and families to feel cared for and supported in making the transition back to community.
We want all people to have access to healing and health care.
Please add to this list, and ask, “What if?” Living our way into a truly welcoming church, not to mention a welcoming society, isn’t easy, but I think it’s a direction we’re called to move toward as we follow Jesus.