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From the Moderator: All are Welcome

I am proud to be a member of this church.

In April, ten members from Ladera Community Church and ten members from BayLands FrontRunners teamed up for our ninth joint project to do something good for our environment.   You can read all about in this edition of the newsletter.

By now many of the participants from each group know each other and look forward to seeing each other at these twice-yearly events.  Since there are always newcomers, we hold an introductory circle-up to state our name and identify which group we belong to. I belong to both.

At the outset of introductions at our recent project, for the briefest moment after I stated that we were a “combined group of good folks from BayLands FrontRunners, an LGBT running group who welcomes anyone to join, and Ladera Community Church, an open and affirming and welcoming congregation,” I caught a reaction.  Our young project manager from Grassroots Ecology arched an eyebrow and almost, almost whispered “whoa!”  I was standing next to him and it was barely perceptible, but it was there.  He was surprised.

Two days after this event, Devon emailed:

Thank you so much for bringing out such a wonderful group of volunteers on Sunday!  I really enjoyed meeting everyone and hanging out at the potluck afterwards. I mentioned how well our workday went to our communications director and she wants me to write a newsletter article for our website about the unique partnership between BayLands FrontRunners and Ladera Community Church.

I spoke with a sincere member of another denomination not long ago who told me that if I were to attend their church, she was sure that I “wouldn’t meet any resistance.”  I must have arched both eyebrows because she immediately reconsidered and said, “But maybe that’s not enough for you, is it.”  I told her she got that right. A lack of resistance isn’t a ringing endorsement.

In a stressful and weary world and particularly in this community, Ladera Community Church strives to offer an “extravagant welcome” to all, and for the most part gets it right.  We can keep working at this. And we can be proud. And grateful.

Peter Sass, Moderator