This church welcome has been attributed to being published in the service program of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community Church in Daytona Beach, Florida.

If you’ve read the gospels, you’ll know that this church welcome completely aligns with the teaching and parables of Jesus, who was consistently rebuking the Pharisees for their attitude of elitism, exclusion and self-righteousness.

Imagine if every church adopted this as their welcome creed.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

It’s always good to understand the differences between churches that say they are welcoming, accepting or affirming/inclusive.

The first says “We welcome you……but…..”

The second says “We accept you…..but…..”

The third says “We welcome, accept, and affirm you” Full stop!!!

Read more about that HERE

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NB:  You might notice that just the word “gay” is used and there is no mention of trans or gender diverse. This appeared on the internet around the mid-2000s. People still used “gay” as an inclusive term to represent the LGBTQ community sometimes, and trans and gender diverse people were beginning to get more exposure. Don’t condemn them for not using the right terminology. Be grateful there was a mainline church at that time  willing to print such an extravagant welcome when so many thought they were automatically excluded.

Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International works with churches, Christian leaders and organisations to assist them on their journey to inclusion. Read more HERE.