This week the Radical Inclusion event has taken up much of my time. It has been an energetic kind of busy, and I am writing to you with just 5 hours to go until the event starts.
This event is the culmination of months of work by the Communications Team led by the late Pat McSherry and myself that came together last year to write a grant. Since receiving this Parish Development Grant, we have been working on how we reach people beyond our congregation, so that they will know that St. James’ Church is here and have the opportunity to meet Christ in our worship and ministry.
The event will be attended by people from our congregation, other faith denominations, as well as atheists and agnostics. There are people who identify as low income, single moms, people with developmental and physical disabilities, people in early recovery from addiction, people doing community leadership on mental health, people who are unemployed, students…the list goes on.
What a gift it is to have a space that we can welcome people into.
Inclusion was a big issue in the early church, with Peter an apostle to the Jews and Paul to the gentiles. It seems that inclusion, who’s in and who’s out, continues to be an issue today. I am constantly surprised by the new labels we create for one another, and the ways we as humans find to separate ourselves from each other.
Separation and exclusion is counter to the gospel. The good news is for all people and I am grateful to be in ministry here with you, where we are able to have conversations where we might disagree, but still find a way forward, as God’s people united in Christ.
My hope for us is that by being open to newcomers and people attending events here, in greeting people at services and during Open Church on Wednesdays, we will continue to grow and be a brighter beacon of God’s light in our neighbourhood.