Done with church? Come Un-Done with Us! It’s among the banners we display outside the church to let passers-by know we’re here and maybe pique some curiosity. But what does “Done with church? Come Un-Done with Us!” really mean?
Lots of folks have had bad experiences of church: worship that is boring or meaningless, being pushed away by official policies around gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, mean-spiritedness, expectations that the church is only about personal righteousness and not making a difference in real life and the world around us, denying science and trying to prove that scripture is beyond question and exploration, even being chastised and judged…from the pulpit or in public, no less! If you’ve said, “I’ve had it! I’m done with church!” then let’s see what we can do about that. Maybe you’ve not even considered being part of a faith group because it seemed irrelevant or some sort of bizarrely mystic strangeness that has little or nothing to do with reality.
Here’s our welcome to you: No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. Not only welcome, but affirmed and celebrated for who you are and who you wish to be. Anything goes? Not exactly–but if you’re convinced the Jesus way of life means to love God and love your neighbor as well as yourself– well, that’s the gist of it! You will be warmly welcomed by a faith family with respect for individuality but also responsive to one another and the real world. (And we like to eat well together!)
Here are two forms of welcome we use as we start our worship together and welcome one another to worship.
We’re Glad You’re Here
“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey…”
…to new visitors and old friends…to people of all colors, cultures, classes, ages, abilities, gender, family type and sexual orientation …to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe…to believers and questioners—and questioning believers…
Welcome to this Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.
One: In the name of Jesus Christ, and through his spirit, we bid you welcome to First Congregational Church, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.
One: You are welcome here if you are married, or if you are single,
ALL: for we will partner with you.
You are welcome here if you are a parent, or the child of one,
for we will be a family to you.
You are welcome here if you know what you believe, or if you have no idea what to
for we will share our faith.
You are welcome here if you love people whose bodies look like yours,
or if you love people whose bodies are different,
for here, we are all the body of Christ.
You are welcome here if your people are from this place, or from far away,
for our God is both here and everywhere.
You are welcome here if you are a saint, or a sinner,
for God knows we are, all of us, both.
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here.
Welcome adapted from Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell and United Church of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC.