In some ways, the first lessons about inclusion are similar to the first lessons of learning a new language. We quickly realize that we can offend even when we mean to be welcoming.
Inclusion requires intention.
Using resources at Many Voices will enable you to open up worship spaces to fully involve every person in the experience of community. As you do so, the possibility of justice unfolds. Every time you reach beyond boundaries, break down walls of division, and remove hindrances to welcome based on gender, sexuality, race or any other difference in places of worship, you expand equality and eliminate exclusion.
One way to begin is to embrace the emphasis on hospitality that permeates the Bible and is demonstrated in the stories of Jesus’ compassion. We can draw inspiration from sacred texts: Loving God with heart, strength, soul and mind; and neighbor as yourself.
You’ll find that expanding welcome in your place of worship creates a warm environment inside and promotes a positive view of your faith tradition externally. Your congregation may begin to attract those who feel alienated. As persons of every sexual orientation and gender identity participate fully in the life of the congregation, the richness of the worship deepens.
In inclusive spaces, people who are already members of the congregation may experience new freedom to be open and honest about who they are. When barriers and conditions of acceptance are removed, parents and loved ones willingly extend invitations to all.