November 16, 2012
Weber welcomes all to worshipWeber 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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