November 9–Faith: Radical Welcome into Reciprocity

Our congregation has affirmed that we are a radically welcoming community. We did not come to those words or what they represent lightly or overnight.  No knee-jerk reactions here. I see the whole dynamic around coming to see ourselves as and practicing being a welcoming community as the work of faith.

  1. This kind of radical welcoming is founded on what I can only call unconditional love–as close as we can get to it.  We ritualize this radical welcome, this unconditioned welcome each week: no matter your immigration status, your skin color, how you wear your hair, your gender identity or whom you love, your political affiliation,  your financial status, your health, whether you are tattooed or pierced, regardless of your theological positions–we welcome you into our community.
  2. We state these very things because they are most often the issues around which people are rejected or judged or otherwise harmed by religious communities. Our faith calls for an expansion of love and acceptance, and affirming ourselves as radically welcoming is our attempt to rise to that call.
  3. We welcome and invite all those who come with open minds, open hands and open hearts.

That last part is important.  Faith is reciprocal.  We are not just radically welcoming everyone, but everyone we welcome must be prepared to join us in this kind of welcoming of others.  As we welcome people who come to our community, they are agreeing to learn this practice of radical welcome, to practice this kind of faith with us.  It’s a pretty rare faith.  It’s demanding.  And it is transformative.

Bob Patrick

This entry was posted in Faith and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to November 9–Faith: Radical Welcome into Reciprocity

  1. June Warfield says:

    Many members of UUCG have been to our home and Mike and I have been frequently complimented on our welcoming hospitality. But, I have cut people from our guest list for what I consider good reasons. One family got cut because the parents failed to supervise/control their children. This was simply too dangerous around the pool, and the kids were too loud and wild indoors (for the record, this family was NOT from UUCG). Another example dates back to the “old days” when Mike and I were active in a singles support group. We were hosting a group party and denied entry to a male who was previously a member, had left the group, and was trying to rejoin. The group actually denied him readmission because he had a history of making inappropriate and aggressive sexual comments to female members and several women were afraid of him. This family and this man had both been historically welcomed and lost their welcome because of their own behavior.

    Everyone deserves a chance. On the other hand, being welcoming and hospitable should never mean that we become doormats.

  2. Peggy Averyt says:

    Good points, June. It is sometimes hard to know when to draw the line on welcoming people’s behavior that is dangerous or unacceptable in some way. However, it does sometimes need to be done. I have told my family members they are are welcome into my home, but that we don’t want to engage in divisive political discussions while they are here. A few have chosen not to come anymore, but most still do come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *