We would like to let you know that you belong...
People on all parts of the continuum of gender identity and expression, including those who are gay, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender, cisgender, queer folks, the sexually active, the celibate, and everyone for whom those labels don’t apply. We say, “You belong.”
People of African descent, of Asian descent, of European descent, of First Nations descent in this land and abroad, and people of mixed and multiple descents and of all the languages spoken here. We say, “You belong.”
Bodies with all abilities and challenges. Those living with any chronic medical condition, visible or invisible, mental or physical. We say, “You belong.”
People who identify as activists and those who don’t. Mystics, believers, seekers of all kinds. People of all ages. Those who support you to be here. We say, “You belong.”
Your emotions: joy, fear, grief, contentment, disappointment, surprise, and all else that flows through you. We say, “You belong.”
Your families, genetic and otherwise. Those dear to us who have died. Our ancestors and the future ones. The ancestors who lived in this land, in this place, where these buildings are now . . . we honour you through this work that we are undertaking. We say, “You belong.”
People who feel broken, lost, struggling; who suffer from self-doubt and self-judgment. We say, “You belong.”
All beings that inhabit this earth, human or otherwise: the two-legged, the four-legged, winged and finned, those that walk, fly, and crawl, above the ground and below, in air and water. We say, “You belong.”
(Adapted from “Diversity Welcome,” Training for Change, https://www.trainingforchange.org/training_tools/diversity-welcome/.)
We believe that this is achieved through our commitment to the parish church being a resource to the whole parish and community it is situated in, the diocese, and the national church. We specifically express this in the following ways:
- Being a member of the inclusive church network. Direct examples of this are our open policy on Baptism, Communion and commitment to relational theology.
- Deep Benedictine expression of hospitality – the practical on-going development of the use of the Underhill Centre, and the use of the resource to help with social enterprise. Direct examples of this are the counselling service, the nano brewery, knit and natter group.
- On-going commitment to issues of justice at both macro level support of Christian Aid and micro level Amos Trust. Direct examples of this are the regular service of prayers for Palestine, Holocaust service and the service to remember persecuted Christians, big breakfast.
- Being aware of the inter relatedness of the integrity of creation in our worship and our actions both as individuals and the body of Christ. Direct examples of this are the work in the wildlife haven (including the joint work with the community payback team), replacement of existing lighting with LED’s and liturgy and preaching about the issue.
- Becoming one of the resource churches for the Society of St James’ homeless project. (We are one of several churches that not only make regular collections of provisions but at times are able to directly resource specific short term needs).
Rev Chris Rowberry