I recently received a letter in the mail from an individual condemning our church’s acceptance of all people and challenging my Christianity. After reading it, I threw it in the recycle bin, but then took it back out. Too many times, maybe because we feel disgusted when we receive opposing and criticizing words from others -whether we know them or not – we discard them, not wanting to give them the time of day. But maybe because its a new year and we challenge ourselves to do new things, I decided my – our voice needed to be heard. So, instead of responding individually, I chose to speak up and out, on behalf of the church I represent, and the people who grace our presence and make us the body of Christ together. It is my fervent hope that we can bring together, that which divides us. Here is my response:
Dear Sir –
I recently received your letter on behalf of Epiphany Lutheran Church, addressing your beliefs regarding the “LGBTQ” community and specifically opposing our “LGBTQ” affirmation, and I might add “IA.” You are correct that we love all people. This is our welcoming statement in our bulletin each week and on our website:
We Are A Reconciling In Christ Congregation. Epiphany Lutheran Church recognizes the wonderful diversity of God’s creation and the way that diversity enriches and challenges our lives as members of the body of Christ. We also recognize that actions and attitudes throughout the Church may have inhibited or prevented access to Word and Sacrament and therefore we invite people of all ages, races, socioeconomic or marital status, physical or mental capacities, sexual orientation, nationalities and citizenship to join us in worship and/or membership.
The people of Epiphany are humbly trying to follow Jesus’ profound example to love all our neighbors. Nothing more, and nothing less is expected of us. I pray that in this time of great division, we might be bold to publicly heed Jesus’ call to overcome division and show our love for all God’s people, for no one is unworthy of God’s amazing grace.
My hope and prayer is that you also know God’s unfailing love for you.
In Peace, Pastor Libbie