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“You are the light of the world.
You don’t build a city on a hill, then try to hide it, do you?
You don’t light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket, do you?
No, you set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, your light must shine before others so that they may see your good acts and give praise to your Abba God in heaven.”
Matthew 5: 14-16
Five years ago, on June 8, 2014 Redeemer voted unanimously to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation and made a public commitment to welcome, include and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people.
Last week for doors open we raised the Pride flag placing it front and center above our front door. We intend to keep it there for the month of June since June is celebrated as Pride month around the world. 2019 also marks 50 years since the stonewall riots, often identified as the beginning of the Pride movement.
Some might wonder why a faith community would want to make such a bold statement. Some might feel that our congregation is already welcoming to all people; what difference could having such an explicit statement of welcome make?
Well the truth is that when people see we have gone through a time of discernment to specifically welcome LGBTQIA+ people and other people groups, they know we are a community that is skilled at welcoming with specific intention, living as the Body of Christ together. That is the kind of good news the world is wanting to hear!
Sadly, LGBTQIA+ people continue to experience exclusion and harm from people supposedly acting in the name of Christianity. Even churches that declare “All are welcome” often demonstrate to LGBTQIA+ individuals and families that the welcome does not include them. For this reason, the invitation to LGBTQIA+ people must be explicit that the welcome is intended to include them.
We will hold a special Pride themed worship service on June 16. Let your light shine and not only tell your neighbours and friends about it, invite them to join us.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help us open our doors to our curious neighbours!