What! How can you say that? My articles will surely be censored from now on!
The process of becoming an official member of Affirm United involves three steps. We must create a Visioning Statement that expresses our commitment to inclusions and acceptance of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, we must have an inclusive Marriage Policy that clearly states that our congregation supports the marriage of all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and we have to describe what our Next Steps will be.
Much like Presbytery asked this congregation “How will you be different if we let you build a new building?”, so we must now ask ourselves “How will we be different as an Affirming Congregation”? This is where my wild statement comes into play. There are many ways we will be changed by this process and changed by the wonderful friends we have yet to meet. One of the changes I would like to challenge each of us to personally adopt is to change our relationship with the church. Stop just going to church on Sunday Mornings as a routine but go with the intention of being the church for the rest of the week as well.
We go to the movies. We watch the film. Maybe we enjoy it. Maybe we don’t. We don’t have any sort of personal investment in it either way. Worship on Sunday morning should be something that changes us, challenges us, teaches us, comforts, guides, encourages, or defines us. Worship on Sunday is considered the first day of the week, the first thing many of us do on the first day of the week. Worship resets us every Sunday to be able to start the week with Christ’s message of Love and Acceptance for everyone foremost on our minds.
The Queer Community can teach us about expressing our Christian beliefs with Pride. The lessons we hear on Sunday morning can be taken out into our workplaces and social situations. Our new understanding of the LGBTQIA2S+ Community can be something that we practice in all aspects of our lives.
For me, being an Ally has opened my eyes to the impact that being openly inclusive can make in the lives of members of the Queer Community. I have taken the step of making my dental office an Affirming Office. I discussed this with my staff and they thought it was a natural step for us to take. We have gay, lesbian and transgender patients in my practice. I have had gay and lesbian staff members. My staff is caring and thoughtful about making sure that everyone is respectful and authentic in their interactions. It just seemed appropriate to post the Rainbow flag on our website and to have decals made to put on the front door. Nothing large, just a statement that all are welcome in our space.