Rector's Blog Summer Throwback Series: You Are a Blessing
Note: As part of our When Love Shows Up Summer Throwback Series, we are re-posting this blog post which was originally posted on May 31, 2019.
The Church of the Redeemer believes in the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons on all levels of Christian ministry and in all areas of the church community. We are committed to living into this belief, and to ensuring that Church of the Redeemer is an affirming, encouraging, and inspiring worshiping community where people of all genders and sexual orientations are empowered to Know Jesus and Grow in Love.
The above is not meant as a political statement, though it may have political implications for some. Neither is it meant as a partisan statement, though at any given time one political party may be more in line with our beliefs about LGBTQ+ persons than another. As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has said, “Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all.” Our support of LGBTQ+ persons is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. Our commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion in the life of the church is born of a deep conviction that the Holy Spirit is uniting us all in relationships of holy connection and communion.
As we stand on the cusp of Pride Month, and as we continue to do the work of Becoming Beloved Community, we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ to acknowledge that the Church has not earned a reputation of being a body that recognizes the blessedness, the belonging, and the God given beauty of our LGBTQ+ siblings. For this the Church must repent. We have a responsibility to recognize that even today too few churches are willing to open their arms to LGBTQ+ persons – and to do so without the ulterior motive of “helping” them to “change” or “be healed."
So, let me say this as clearly as possible: We believe that the God that created you made you as you are on purpose. You are not a mistake. Your sexuality is not a mistake, a sin, or something to be cured, fixed, or healed. You are a blessing. Your journey to self-understanding is essential to the healing of this world. You matter tremendously to God and to the people around you. Your expression of love is even now teaching this world a deeper understanding of what love really is. When you are part of the Church community, the church is more of who God means it to be. When you are empowered, the Spirit is revealed. When you lead, we see Jesus.
If you are reading this and you are not sure where you personally stand on issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the life of the church, or if your current beliefs are not fully in line with what has been written above, you may wonder if there’s a place for you at Redeemer. If that’s the case, I want to remind you of the breadth of belief and experience of the people in this community. Redeemer is meant to be a place of wrestling, of seeking to understand. We seek unity, not uniformity.
If you seek to live in love and charity with your neighbor, and if you seek to understand and experience Jesus more fully through Christian community, there is a place for you at Redeemer. This is true for you if you are gay. It’s true for you if you are straight. It’s true for you if you are male, female, trans, or gender non-conforming. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And it is in the name of Jesus that you are welcome here, because it is Jesus who unites us, who leads us into the work of love and mercy for which we were all made.
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