This Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate two years as an officially welcoming and affirming congregation. Some of you might wonder whether this matters, and I’m sure for some people it does not have a direct impact. We have, however, had more than one couple reach out to our congregation interested in marriage specifically because of our affirming status. Our congregation offered a space that was safe, or that fit with their own personal values and the ones they wanted associated with their marriage.
Being an affirming congregation is an intentional welcome to everyone who is a part of the LGTBQ+ community, and this matters because the church has a long history (and in many places not just history) of excluding and condemning people for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Given this context, we can’t expect anyone who isn’t part of our community already to know that we would not be the same – unless we tell them directly. And, whether or not we ourselves or people we know are a part of the LGTBQ+ community, being an affirming congregation means that we are ourselves working to become an instance of sacred community, a place where the divine in all people is not just permitted but embraced.
That’s my sermon, because on Sunday you won’t be hearing me preach! Instead, we’ll hear people from our congregation responding to the question: “What does it mean for you to be part of an affirming congregation?” I look forward to hearing the short reflections along with you.