Julie’s Jar, “A Welcoming Word”

~A Welcoming Word~

How do most people find FCC Pomona for the first time? Over 90% of first time visitors find us on the internet. Many of them are looking for a church that is welcoming and affirming of people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender. Often they will type into a search engine, “gay-friendly church”. Some of the people are themselves gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and maybe even transgender. Some of them are people tired of going to churches only to hear gay bashing. Almost all of the people are under the age of 40.

When they click on our website, this is what they see first:

Thinking about joining us for worship? Great!

Here are some things you can expect…

First of all: No, the roof won’t collapse just because you walk in-no matter what anyone else may have told you. Whether you are a “first-in-a-long-time-or-if-ever” church-goer, you are welcome. Take a deep breath.

Worship at First Christian Church Pomona is welcoming of all people especially at the communion table. We are a warm community, with an improvisational bent so God’s Spirit can move among us.

What do we mean by welcoming of all people?

This is what we mean: Straight, gay, richer, poorer, white, black, etc. etc. All means all. You may see same-sex couples holding hands in the pews. Get over it. We have.

*   We believe it’s possible to be serious about our faith and informal in our approach. At first glance, we look traditional, but we mix it up. Some people wear a jacket, some people wear jeans. Sometimes the pastors wear robes and sometimes they don’t. (Don’t worry; they do wear clothes) Some people even sport tattoos and piercings. Grey hair abounds, but so do very short, young people.

*   Children are welcome. We believe children aren’t the future of the church; they are the church RIGHT NOW. We also know they wiggle and laugh and drop things; we all do. There’s even a special time just for kids in our service.

*   We won’t tell you who to vote for, but we are going to talk about real life and current events. That’s where the rubber meets the road in our faith.

*  We celebrate communion every Sunday (i.e., the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, that thing with the bread and the cup).  You are invited to share, if you want-whether you’ve been baptized or not. That table belongs to Jesus, not us, and he’s the one who invites you to “taste and see the goodness of God.” We use grape juice, bread or crackers.

*   We sing a lot, together. Song books are in the pews and words are on the screen. We’d love it if you’d join in.

*   People will say hello. Just go with it.

We embrace and embody the description, but it occurred to me that some of you may have never seen this statement before. Some of it may even be familiar from our last All Church Appreciative Inquiry Retreat. It is gratifying that when people find us on the web, read this description and muster up the courage to walk through the doors, they find the community we describe.

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