All Are Welcome, Without Exception
It was a glorious Christmas Eve at ECLC! Thank you to all the musicians, readers, acolytes, ushers, greeters, servers, bakers, and worshipers who helped to make the four services so meaningful and inspiring. God has come into our world and is truly with us in our worship.
ECLC was one of several churches visited on Christmas Eve by a protester holding signs opposing an inclusive Christian welcome. One man stood on the front sidewalk with his anti-LGBTQ message before the 7:30 service, and two people returned near the end of the 9:30 service. While we are not aware of this happening at ECLC in the past, similar demonstrations have taken place at other places of worship for decades. These individuals typically seek as much attention as possible and try to trigger the emotions of people passing by. As a congregation that values God’s love and blessing for all people, without exception, our response was to offer an even stronger and more gracious welcome for everyone who came to worship.
Many of us feel sad and angry about what occurred outside on the sidewalk Christmas Eve, and the pastors are available to talk with you about the emotions it brought up for you. At the same time, one thing it may remind us of is the continued importance of being a welcoming and affirming church. With this in mind, you are invited to an adult forum on January 13 for a discussion about the work three of our mission partners (Reconciling Works, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and the LGBT Lutheran Scholarship Fund) are doing to work for LGBTQ equality and what each of us can do to be part of it. There will also be an opportunity to discuss our experience with the protester and how best to respond if something similar ever happens again.
Each of you is a beloved child of God. Thank you for the many powerful, gracious ways that you serve as the body of Christ every day.
- Jay Carlson