Minister says church welcomes all

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Bud’s Beat of July 17 dealing with all-inclusiveness of churches captured the essential stance of Loomis Basin Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC) on King Rd. Many people may be surprised that a church that has been in Loomis since 1895 is an open and affirming, welcoming, and encouraging congregation that says to all people each Sunday: “No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” While the vast majority of our members are heterosexual, we specifically include all persons of any sexual orientation, gender, marital status, age, mental and physical ability as well as racial, ethnic or social-economic background. Gay, lesbian and transgendered persons are welcomed and affirmed as well as invited to participate fully in fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of full church membership. Indeed, we have already celebrated the Christian, and now legal, marriage of two gay men who have been in a long-term loving relationship. We believe that God didn’t stop speaking at the end of the Bible; God still has more to say. God is still trying to get our attention, trying to get you and me to look, to feel, to think and to listen. God is still speaking through other people, nature, music, art, science and the Bible. God is still speaking through the life and teachings of Jesus today. Our faith is over 2,000 years old, but our thinking is not. We are all on a journey that continues throughout our lives; God accepts us no matter where we are on that journey. We believe that Jesus meant it when he said he’d be there whenever two or three are gathered in his name. In the 19th Century our church (the UCC) was the first to ordain a black minister and also first to ordain a woman minister. In the 20th Century we were the first to ordain a gay minister. In the 21st Century we want to be on the forefront of being an all-inclusive, loving, encouraging, welcoming, prayerful, open and affirming, peace and justice church that is activity listening to what God has to say… for God is still speaking! Rev. Dr. John T. Norris Pastor, Loomis Basin Congregational UCC