The Crusader Online

November 16, 2012
Vol. 54 No. 10

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Weber welcomes all to worship

Weber Chapel's already open arms are only stretching wider to include a more diverse range of people through a change in the Af­firmation of Welcome.

Since 2002, Weber has been designated as a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) church. The Affir­mation of Welcome, as the RIC website states, intends the "LGBTQ people as welcome to full participation" in the church.

Previously, Weber's Affirmation of Wel­come specified that gay and lesbian people are welcome to the church, saying that "because gay and lesbian persons are often scorned by society and alienated from the Church, we wish to make known our caring and concern."

The new Affirmation of Welcome, as well as other texts developed since 2002, have more inclusive language and welcome more of both the LGBTQ community and the com­munity as a whole without discrimination.

The new Affirmation now includes "with­out exception, all people regardless of sex, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, phys­ical-mental ability or disability, age or station in life." The base for this change is that Weber believes "that Christ calls us to reconciliation and wholeness in a world of alienation and brokenness."

Chaplain Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke elabo­rated on the intended purpose of the change to the Affirmation of Welcome. He said there are several purposes this change is serving. Firstly, it is to "let the campus and wider com­munity know that the Weber Chapel worship­ping community welcomes all people, without exception." In addition, the changes serve to "encourage those who worship at Weber to consider what it means to announce and prac­tice radical hospitality in the spirit of Jesus."

Radecke also acknowledged the stigma surrounding Christian's acceptance of the LGBTQ community. "Unfortunately, some people make assumptions about Christian's willingness to affirm people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities," he said. "The Affirmations of Welcome is one way for the Weber Chapel worshipping community to say, in the words of one hymn, "All are wel­come here."

According to Radecke, the calling of those at Weber, "is to bear witness to the inclusive love of the One we gather to worship. We sim­ply need to practice the hospitality we affirm."

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