We at Clifton would love to offer you a welcome! What do we mean by that? Who do we mean by that? Our answer is everyone and in the fullness of who they are. We believe that we are all created in God’s image, and all redeemed in Christ. Everyone. And we believe that everyone has their struggles, their sorrows, their sins and the same Savior. Everyone. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38).

 

While we can’t name every experience, every identity or every stage in life and faith that is welcome here, and even though we could simply say “Everybody!” again, we believe that there is a benefit to naming as many as we can. We are not perfect, and we might not always get it right, but at Clifton we offer you this welcome:

 

You are welcome here in the fullness and diversity of what you have experienced. Survivors, champions, divorcees, single parents, caregivers of parents, grade schoolers, widowers, veterans, jobless, immigrants, career changers, retirees and every other life moment we experience is celebrated and embraced and cherished as holy at Clifton.

 

You are welcome here in the fullness and diversity of who you are. Straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, native, black, latino, white, islander, asian, multi-lingual, mono-lingual, able-bodied, disabled in body or mind, addicted, recovering and every other identity we can embody is celebrated and embraced and cherished as holy at Clifton.

 

You are welcome here in the fullness and diversity of your faith journey. Stable, reverent, irreverent, doubting, serene, conflicted, maturing, growing in nuance, seeking earnestly, seeking desperately, deliberate, confused, returning again, starting for the first time, trying to remember, eager to share with others and every other stage is celebrated and embraced and cherished as holy at Clifton.

 

We have not chosen to lift these words out of thin air, they already refer to everybody represented in our current community, and we believe that they will come to represent those who will join us soon! We see ourselves in these words, both present and future. Our welcome grows as we meet people who surprise us with their holy stories, who teach us how to welcome, and how to be welcomed. 

 

All of this is rooted in the invitation of Christ. “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the Glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) We are one in Christ, united by his love for us. This invitation is inclusive and celebrates what we are. Come and join us and see for yourself!

 

In the Love of Christ,

Pastor Jim

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