WHAT IS THE WELCOMING TEAM?
The Welcoming Team consists of Shepherd Members who are doing the hard work of listening and guiding our community into authentic welcome.
WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
Here at Shepherd we say that All Are Welcome. But what does that mean? Do we live into that authentically? These are the questions that sparked our Welcoming Team.
Sin causes us to create bias and prejudice in our communities and within society. God's love calls us out and into authentic relationship with our neighbor.
It is our calling as people of Christ to educate ourselves, to listen, to learn, and to grow. We are starting with how we welcome LGBTQ+ peoples and we look forward to expanding as time goes on.
WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING?
Your Welcoming Team has been leading Shepherd through Reconciling Works journey through the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) process. This process guides congregations through self examination, authentic listening, and deep learning as they come to an understanding of what it means to welcome, include, and celebrate LGBTQ+ people.
In January 2021 we voted as a congregation on our public statement of our welcome in this place.
This work now continues as we actively live into our welcome by continued learning and honest conversations and authentic listening.
OUR WELCOME STATEMENT
VOTED UPON AT OUR 2021 ANNUAL MEETING:
We, at Shepherd of the Hills, welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all, regardless of ethnicity or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or relationship status. We welcome all without regard to addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment or former imprisonment, socio-economic circumstances, or anything that too often divides us. Our unity is in Christ.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does the bible say
What is our goal in this process
Our goal is to follow the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) process to become an RIC congregation, so that LGBTQ+ individuals and their families feel welcome and comfortable to worship and engage fully in our congregation.
What about other minorities? What about making sure people of color, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups feel welcome
Great question! We absolutely want to make sure that when we say all are welcome that Shepherd lives fully and authentically into that statement and we will be exploring how we welcome people of all communities. We are starting with welcoming conversations and learning with the LGBTQ+ community because that was what was lifted up to us first and that is where we were able to find an accessible process that guides us and supports us in this first step of our welcoming journey. We will not be done when we become an RIC congregation, we will still have much work to do and we are grateful for your acknowledgement of this need and welcome your support and engagement in those conversations in the future!
Will Shepherd begin doing LGBTQ+ marriages
LGBTQ+ marriage is legal on both state and federal levels. Although it is completely permissible for your pastoral team to preside over weddings, and they are not only welcome to the idea, but excited for the possibility; your Shepherd leadership does not want something as beautiful and sacred as a wedding to become a contentious conflict within our community. Thus, we are grateful for the opportunity to have these conversations now.