While the Christian faith often proclaims its openness towards all seekers and believers, there is sometimes a disconnect between the words said and the actions that may or may not back up the good intentions, especially when it comes to gender and LGBT issues.
Nationally, there have been a number of denominations that have sought to embrace all of the people of God, no matter what age, gender, relationship, economic status, nationality, different abilities, or marital standing a person may have or be. The United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church are two in particular that immediately come to mind.
When it comes to actually putting this open heart/open door spirit into action, it’s always very heartening to witness activities on the local level that demonstrate this commitment to equal care for all. In the Boston area, “The Crossing,” an “emergent church” that is an outgrowth of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on Tremont St., greets visitors with an invitation to “enjoy radical welcome,” in which all people, of every kind, are considered part of the flock.
Recently, The Crossing demonstrated its radical openness through participation in Boston’s Pride Parade. The event, which took place June 12 from 11 am to 2pm in Boston’s South End, was a way of demonstrating the wideness of God’s love. More than 30 members of The Crossing community came out to share the “ministry of reconciliation” that Saturday.
According to Rev. Steph Spellers, pastor at The Crossing, “I know, some call it the LGBT Pride Parade, but if you ask any of us who marched, sang, shared cards, and blew bubbles, we’ll tell you what was going on was reconciliation. Knitting the fabric of the human family back together, the way God intended. Drawing together groups once scattered. Saying “We’re sorry” and “We love you.” The apostle Paul got it, which is why he wrote, “If we are in Christ, we are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. … And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making an appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
Spellers called the event “an amazing day to share the love and life of God out in the open.” Spellers is the priest and lead organizer for The Crossing, “blessing and loving and prodding” members of that newly-formed, newly emergent community. She is also the author of a book, “Radical welcome,” and leads workshops on that theme around the country.
For more information on The Crossing, visit their website at http://www.thecrossingboston.org/
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