As followers of Jesus, we are called to love unconditionally, to extend compassion, and to embrace the diversity that enriches our shared journey of faith. As we approach our community's Pride Month celebrations, I invite you to join me in reaffirming our commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The LGBTQAI+ community has long faced marginalization, prejudice, and discrimination, especially within religious spaces. As a church, we recognize and repent of the deep wounds caused by these painful experiences, acknowledge our own failures in fully embracing and celebrating the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and commit ourselves to a path of healing, reconciliation, and advocacy.
In the face of division, our faith calls us to unity. The message of the Gospel is clear: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Our diversity is a testament to the vastness of God's love and creativity. Each person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
Therefore, let us continue to create a church and community where all feel welcomed, accepted, loved, and celebrated! Let us listen to the stories and experiences of our LGBTQAI+ siblings with empathy and compassion, seeking to understand their unique journeys. Let us be willing to engage in dialogue and education, deepening our understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, and the challenges faced by LGBTQAI+ individuals in our society.
Supporting LGBTQAI+ persons means affirming their right to live and love authentically. It means rejecting any form of discrimination or exclusion based on sexual orientation or gender identity, advocating for their full participation in the life of our church, and actively working to dismantle systemic barriers that perpetuate inequality and injustice.
As we continue this journey of inclusivity and affirmation, it is crucial that we nurture an atmosphere of grace and respect. Together, we can create a space where all can worship, learn, and grow together, as we strive to fulfill Christ's commandment to love one another as He has loved us.
In the spirit of unity, let us move forward with courage and conviction, seeking justice and mercy, and affirming the dignity and worth of every person. May our actions speak louder than words, as we embrace the call to be a witness to God's all-encompassing love.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.
In Christ's love,
Rev. Jeremy Wicks
PS - Did you hear the one about the pastor who brought the ladder to church? Yeah, she wanted to take her preaching to a higher level ;)