Listen to this story:
A new website geared toward helping Seventh-day Adventist churches craft welcoming statements recently launched. Its goal is to give site visitors “biblical inspiration for creating a welcoming statement, a list of actual welcoming statements, and tips for creating a welcoming statement for your church.”
The landing page of AdventistChurchWelcomingStatements.org states,
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has officially published many encouraging statements welcoming all people.
In practice, however, Adventist churches at times have been exclusive and repellent. We have closed doors to people who didn’t behave like us or think like us or look like us. We have cared more about being right than about being kind. We have confused acceptance with agreement. We have been too motivated by fear. We have turned away thirsty seekers of the free water of life.
Now is the time to be more intentional concerning the openness and warmth of our local church climates. As important as a mission or vision, a welcoming statement gives the church a face.”
Chris Blake, professor emeritus at Union College and one of the founders of the new initiative, recently sat down for an interview for the Mid-America Union’s podcast, “The Advance” to discuss the website and the importance of a welcoming statement.
Blake says a welcoming statement can help potential visitors tell whether this is the church for them. “Am I welcomed here, or is this just an exclusive club?” According to Blake, though welcoming statements have been around a long time, Adventist churches have not used them as widely or frequently as some other denominations.
There are currently 22 Adventist churches across the world listed on the site that have published welcoming statements. In order to be added to the list, churches are encouraged to submit their welcoming statements to site creators at OpenDialogueResources@gmail.com.
Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
Image courtesy of adventistchurchwelcomingstatements.org.
If you respond to this article, please:
Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.