I am currently on the Needs Assessment Committee regarding a potential position of Affirming Ministries Coordinator, and brought it to the Planning and Administration Commission meeting last evening. Recent discussions and my past research and discussions prompted me this morning to write a blog on signs of fully Affirming congregations.
- Diverse and respectful language that provides opportunities for all people to feel they are welcome and belong. This is one of my failings as I often choose generic rather than diverse language for God, and I will try to do better here. My biggest failure is my reluctance to use any father language for God in reaction to its abusive use in some situations.
- Patterns of language and worship that avoid or limit presumptions or assumptions that do not apply to all people — patterns of language and worship that allow everyone to be accepted as unique individuals.
- Spaces and facilities accessible to people with mobility and visual challenges.
- Hearing devices for those with hearing challenges.
- Large print bulletins for people with limited vision.
- Livestreaming of services for members unable to leave their residences.
- Recorded services for those unable to leave their residences and who do not have internet and for those with shift work and other challenges to attending worship.
- At least some of the content of worship services is of value to people of most ages and intellectual abilities.
- Worship that works for visual, auditory, and experiential learners.
- Readiness to assist people with mental illness.
- Readiness and willingness to provide concrete evidence in greetings and conversation that each and every person is regarded as a unique individual and loved sister or brother in Christ.
This is my list. I would like others to add what they regard as signs of fully Affirming congregations.