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a more radical welcome November 11, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.

There is an old English idiom about sending someone to Coventry, which basically means to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. In contrast Coventry Cathedral has a great welcome notice. It’s about welcoming all kinds of people including those who might not always feel they are accepted in church. This has been shared on multiple facebook pages and church noticeboards, and inspired our friend and former pastor, Steve Latham to suggest that the “scandalous extremism of the gospel ” should challenge the church to be even more radical.

The original list includes “those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, straight, gay, questioning, well-heeled or down at heel.” It does include those who are “just got out of prison” along with the “just browsing” and “just woken up” and sneaks in “those who are in recovery or still addicted” along with “tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters.”

Steve, asks would your church put up a welcome signs like this:

“We welcome murderers and thieves, racists and rapists. We welcome human traffickers, white supremacists, and pornographers; even bankers and hedge fund managers. We welcome the child abuser as well as the abused, the drug pusher besides the addict; the unreconstructed male chauvinist, along with the TERF.”

Steve goes on to ask, “What church would actually want that kind of people attending? The safeguarding issues alone would be horrendous.”
Read Steve’s full post here.

As part of my MA research I visited many church websites and spotted that nearly all had a prominent link to their safeguarding policy (definitely something to be commended as long as it’s taken seriously), but that very few had links to an online Bible such as Bible.com or Bible.is (which between them have scripture and other resources in over 1600 languages).

Regular readers of my blog won’t be surprised at a plug for helping those marginalised, through no fault of their own, by language. That’s been my job and my passion for the last 23 years. But there are others who are marginalised in society by a past (or present) that has put them on the wrong side of the law, people who know that they have fallen. Stephen Dailly (we know a few Stephen), has written a book from his experience of working with released prisoners. It’s a book that isn’t blind to challenges for the congregation as well as the released prisoners. You can read a sample of the book on Amazon which may be enough to prompt you to buy a copy and pray that at least one church in your community (maybe your own) will be radical enough and well prepared enough to really welcome anyone.


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