Over the past few weeks, members from the Beloved Community have been leading the adult study time after worship on Sundays with a series of discussions titled “Becoming an Inclusive Faith Community.” You might wonder: aren’t we already an inclusive faith community? We are a Reconciling in Christ community! We say all are welcome – and we mean it!
What I’ve learned from the Beloved Community is that inclusion is much much easier said than done. This is especially true with respect to people with disabilities, who have been actively shunned from faith communities in the past, and who are incredibly marginalized by our society.
I have been attending these adult study conversations because I know I need support to live out my values of inclusion – to truly follow Jesus’ example of the radical welcome. From society I have absorbed messages about all kinds of people and groups. About people with disabilities, I have absorbed ideas that they are broken and need to be healed, that if they communicate differently than me they communicate incorrectly, that my favorite way to worship should not be changed to “accommodate” them. All of these ideas actively keep me from living out my values and my faith, and this is why I am so grateful to the Beloved Community for sharing so much of their time with us. I see it as a great blessing and gift for others to show me where I struggle to live out my commitments.
I hope you’ll join us this Sunday to continue this conversation. Come accept the Beloved Community’s gift of supporting us to become the community we long to be.
By Erica McDowell
“Becoming an Inclusive Faith Community” + Sundays, January 7th – February 4th at 10:30am