Christine and I recently visited a church in Manchester which describes itself as an inclusive church. It has set me thinking, and I really believe that Christian Churches should welcome anybody who comes to them and includes them at all levels regardless of race, gender, sexuality etc.
The church is not a club to be run for the benefit of its members, or those that ‘belong’. The church is there to serve the whole community in the name of Jesus Christ. Anybody and everybody should be welcome. It is not our job to say who is a true Christian and therefore can belong and become a part of ‘us’.
Most people would agree with me that we should not discriminate against people with a different skin colour to us. It is easy to say we welcome anyone, but to be truly inclusive we must not discriminate against homosexuals or trans-gender individuals.
Features of an Inclusive Church
An inclusive church welcomes people regardless of:
- Race or colour of skin.
- Sexual orientation: gay, lesbian or straight
- Gender, including those who identify with a particular gender or those who have transitioned from one gender to another.
- State of mental health.
- Status: poor, rich, working or middle class
- Marital Status: single, divorced, widowed, separated, living together, or married.
- Introvert or extrovert.
- Physical ability or disabitity.
- Whether quiet or noisy, needy, mature, etc.
An inclusive church:
- Sees itself as part of the community.
- Does not consider people as insiders or outsiders, or “us” and “them”.
- Allows anybody to express their viewpoint.
- Is there to serve all people.
- Is not a club.
Inclusive Church Organisation
There is an organisation called Inclusive Church which promotes the idea of churches that include everybody into their midst, with no insiders or outsiders. I have just joined as an individual and would recommend looking at their website.
Inclusive Church is a network of churches, groups and individuals uniting together around a shared vision:
“We believe in inclusive Church – church which does not discriminate, on any level, on grounds of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality. We believe in Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.”