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It's Different Here #3 - We Accept and Include Everyone as They are

By:
Carl Ruby

 All of us have room to grow in our faithfulness to Jesus. But maybe you’ve tried visiting a church where you didn’t feel accepted because you were from the wrong side of town, didn’t have the same color of skin, belonged to the wrong political party, had too many tattoos, or were of a different sexual orientation or gender identity. Some people are afraid to try a new church out of fear that they will stick out or won’t be accepted. Here at Central, we aspire to achieve a radical level of inclusion. We want everyone, even those who may not fully embrace our faith, to feel not only welcomed but loved. No matter who you are or what you believe, we need you here. Your presence makes us a better church. 

We don’t hide the fact that we seek to follow Jesus and hope others will, too, but we get that it takes time and that some people never get there. In the Bible, there are many kinds of people who had every reason to fear Jesus or oppose him, but rather than finding Jesus shutting them out over and over again, we see him welcoming them in. He ate and drank with such people so much that some accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” we understand this to mean we should too. This is a safe place for you to be yourself and to consider Christ in a way that meets you wherever you are in your own spiritual journey.

One area where this is especially evident is in our inclusive approach to our friends and family members in the LGBTQ+ community. It grieves us that so many in this community have particularly felt the sting of rejection from Christians and the church. In 2022, our Board of Elders announced that we would adopt a policy of full inclusion for LGBTQ+ people who wish to attend, worship, and serve at Central. This compliments our desire to be more diverse in other areas as well. For more on this topic, check out a series of sermons in the Simply Central series on our Church YouTube Channel.

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