We are in a process at First Christian Olympia. We are discussing what it means for us as a congregation to officially claim and name ourselves as an Open and Affirming congregation. We already profess a theology of extravagant hospitality and welcome. The congregation is made up of people from all walks of life. We enjoy a tremendous spirit of fellowship and purpose as we walk together listening for God’s call, seeking to be all that means in this time and in this place in the context in which we find ourselves today. Not yesterday, not 50 years ago, but today. Some ask and wonder why it is necessary to be Open and Affirming when we are already welcoming. It is a good question. A question that begs for a response.
In the context of this time and place in our community, in our state, in our country, in our world it is more important than ever for those of us who understand the Gospel as good news, who have experienced first hand the restoring, healing power of being a part of a community that lives out the all inclusive love that Jesus professed and taught - to speak out, to reach out, and to fully proclaim it.
The world becomes more and more divided everyday. God’s vision for us is not divisive. God’s vision for us was not to live in fear and in hate. God wants us to live in the realm. The kingdom here and now. In order for that to happen we must reach beyond our fears and our misgivings, our judgements and draw the circle as wide as it needs to be drawn until there is no outside or in only God’s realm; love, justice, peace, joy, hope.
Being an Open and Affirming congregation means we welcome everyone, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, Bisexual, Heterosexual, Black, White, housed, unhoused, street people, the mentally ill , the lonely, the broken hearted, the angry, the conservative, the liberal, the questioning, the tatooed, the white collared, the blue collared……….the list is never ending and you may feel free to fill in more blanks…..My prayer for us is that we continue to draw the circle wider…..