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  • James Pate

Inclusivity and our October Church Meeting

For some time now we have been thinking about issues of gender, sexuality and relationships.


In July we heard the stories of people in our church, and we discussed these in August.


On October 2nd we will discuss a possible ‘inclusive church’ statement, which we may want to adopt for Daybrook Baptist Church.


One possible statement comes from the Inclusive Church Network: (https://www.inclusive-church.org/the-ic-statement/)


“We believe in inclusive church – a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate.

We will continue to challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality.

We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.”


I believe that is a good idea to have a formal statement like this.


  1. We want people to know that we will not reject them, and we want them to know it before they set foot inside our doors. A formal statement on our website, with links to our sermons, will help people to understand where we are coming from.

  2. It is aspirational. We can review how well we are doing. A statement like this can spur us on to love and good deeds.

  3. It reaffirms the importance of the Bible. It points us back to Jesus and all the things he said.

  4. It’s not just about the issues we have been discussing this year. It encourages us to look at all aspects of discrimination. There may be others not mentioned in the statement.


This is not about us policing each other’s thoughts. My dream is for a church where you can feel at home regardless of your views on same-sex marriage. It’s about loving each other and working together regardless of our opinions. It is about welcoming people who have differing viewpoints and loving and affirming one another because we are all part of the body of Christ. But it would mean, for example, that it would be ok for someone in a same sex marriage to preach in our church and that we would expect all our members to understand this.


This statement would not authorise us to register our buildings for same-sex marriages. That would be a separate discussion and church meeting decision which would require a specific formal vote from church members.


I am delighted that Daybrook Baptist Church seems to be a place where we can discuss these matters freely. I hope this will always be so. Please keep talking. If you find this difficult, please put your questions and comments in the box near the back of the church.


May our Father encourage us greatly as we seek to serve him.



James

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