Inclusivity. Of course we try to be inclusive. Any half-decent group of people would be. We want to be inclusive of everyone. In our ideal, on the days we live well into our core values, we never shut the door on anyone at all. We welcome, we accept, we celebrate each person we meet. Not seeking to change anyone among us, but hoping to walk together and encourage one another. That we would hold such a value is obvious.
But there’s another, more specific thing we intend to say when we name ourselves inclusive. In particular, we are speaking to our LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors. For too long the church has denied access/acceptance/welcome/love/grace/affirmation to the LGBTQIA+ community. We feel it is long overdue to fix that. And part of the church’s apology has to be explicitly naming this.
In that interest, we want to name that we welcome our LGBTQIA+ neighbors. We do not restrict access based on gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We don’t teach homosexuality as sin. We don’t call relationships “lifestyles” or people “issues.” We don’t ask anyone to change who they love. We don’t use gender identity or sexual orientation as a measure for leadership eligibility. Journey names as our standard that the varieties of sexualities and identities are valid expressions of humanity whose existence we celebrate.
Naming this doesn’t lessen our striving to be inclusive of everyone. When we hear Jesus’ call to love our neighbors and spread God’s love throughout the world, well, this is a piece of that work. When we go into the world, we strive for this standard. When we gather as a community, we strive for this standard. Love is love is love.
God’s Peace and All Good,
Journey Leadership Team