What do mean when we mean we say we are an inclusive church? I think it the answer is both easy and complex. For me it means we try to live into the vision of Jesus for the church, a community of God’s love that includes all. Yet do we really live this? I have a clergy friend who wonders if the church sometimes embraces inclusion at the expense of being prophetic, seeking to make everyone comfortable by having a prophetic voice that is so vague and easy that it fails to represent anything. I think he has a point, at times a prophetic voice may offend and following Christ may not lead us to offer a safe and easy path for others to follow. For me there must be a fine line between not backing away from prophetic stands and claiming who you are called to be as Christians and drawing the circle so narrow it only includes those just like you. Inclusion asks: where can we the go the extra mile to include those who Jesus included, those left on the margins of our world?
Interestingly, when I talk to people who are part or have been a part of our church community, the one common denominator is that they felt at home here because the church included someone like them. Every person felt there was something about them that would not fit with “church” but somehow at HUCC they fit. I think this is what I would like to embrace when I say we are inclusive. That we live out the vision of creating a home for those who feel no church could be their home. And I believe it means that sometimes we have to make some noise, and sometimes we must step out of our comfort zone, because inclusion is not just our value word but our calling to be prophetic. At HUCC, We include because we believe this is consistent with the gospel and we include because this is the way we answer the call to follow Christ. Inclusion is not simply being so quiet that no one could possibly be offended but being inclusive is “coming out”. Coming out boldly as God’s welcoming arms to the next person who wonders is there really a church who would accept someone like me.