Reconciling in Christ: We want your feedback on the potential Welcome Statement

Reconciling in Christ: We want your feedback on the potential Welcome Statement

All are welcome here

Hello, my name is Syrenne McNulty and I’m the chairwoman of the RIC Task Force, the group at Good Shepherd that launched the conversation last year about to what extent we welcome people
in our church. Over the last few months, we’ve run and sponsored classes, video screenings, and dialogues to get the congregation thinking and talking about this important topic. Throughout August, there will be a brief survey included in your bulletin insert. This important survey is to get feedback on the listed potential Welcome Statement. Good Shepherd members specifically composed this for this congregation and has undergone many months of edits based on your feedback.

The focus of the survey is simple: does this statement reflect who we are as a Good Shepherd community, and what we strive to be? Throughout over two years of conversations we’ve had about the topic, most people say Good Shepherd should be a welcoming church. It is important to remember, though, that sometimes sticking to the status quo can cause harm to marginalized groups that have been traditionally excluded by the larger Church for hundreds of years. We hope that this statement can serve as a reminder to ourselves and send a strong message to those considering us as a church home: ALL are welcome here. This survey will run from Sunday, August 4th to Sunday, August 25th. It will be included in bulletins all four weeks at every service or can be filled out on the website. We value your honest feedback on this survey. A member of the RIC Task Force will be present at every service throughout August to answer any questions.

Going forward, if the survey results are very in favor, we intend to hold a formal Congregational Meeting and vote in the coming months to adopt the statement. Adopting the statement represents Good Shepherd agreeing as a congregation to walk forward in a unified direction towards being welcoming and inclusive to all who come here. Putting it into practice is the next step of our journey that we’re excited to get started on. Thank you very much for your support throughout the process.

Welcome Statement

We welcome ALL to Good Shepherd. Everyone. Without exception. This welcome includes those shunned by society and by churches because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental abilities, financial resources, and family status. The world can be difficult and unloving. In this large, beautifully diverse world, we invite you to a community where we all
belong. Whether you are a believer, a doubter or a seeker, in Christ’s love, we welcome you. By the power of the Holy Spirit we will work to extend God’s grace, love, justice, and dignity inside and outside our church. You are a Child of God. You belong here with your WHOLE self. Your story and your life are valuable, not only at Good Shepherd, but in this world. You belong here.

Take the Survey

Click here to take the survey.

3 Comments
  • Mark Renner
    Posted at 11:46h, 31 July Reply

    Thanks for this excellent piece of work from the RIC group. It takes what is already the commitment to “All” and provides additional support to the concept in specific language.

    Only one minor quibble. I sense a disconnect between “The world can be difficult and unloving” and “in this large, beautifully diverse world.”

    May I suggest the following as a clarification? “Unloving and difficult relationships, rooted in human brokenness and sin, leave us in pain, separated from God and each other. God gave to all of us this large, beautifully diverse creation, and daily renews its redemption from our brokenness, through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we invite you to a community where we all belong, reconciled by God, in Christ.” (Romans 5: 6-11)

  • Jeff Kuchenbecker
    Posted at 23:52h, 11 August Reply

    This has been a huge undertaking for GSLC. It’s work that has long been dismissed as being too divisive. I salute everyone who had input in crafting this powerful statement. All are called/welcomed to be disciples of Jesus. “Come, follow me….” And what comes after that? “AND I will make you..” I pray that the teaching/learning/discipling that comes next will be even more powerful.

  • Mark Renner
    Posted at 11:21h, 20 August Reply

    When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man’s godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, that that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.

    The incarnate God is present, and can be experienced in the humanity of every man and in full human corporeality. No one need dissemble and appear other than he is to perceive the fellowship of the human God with him. Rather, he can lay aside all dissembling and sham and become what he truly is in this human God. Furthermore, the crucified God is near to him in the forsakenness of every man. There is no loneliness and no rejection which he has not taken to himself and assumed in the cross of Jesus. There is no need for any attempts at justification or for any self-destructive self-accusations to draw near to him.

    Jurgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (40th anniversary edition) Fortress Press 2015
    P. 414

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