On the 4th March 2009 the PCC agreed 'that it wishes details of the church and its services to be listed on the Changing Attitude web site as a congregation which is open and welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people'.
This is in line with our broader goal of ensuring that everyone who attends All Saints is assured a warm welcome, but recognises the particular difficulty members of the LGBT community often experience in being fully accepted in Christian churches.
Changing Attitude's Guide to Welcoming and Open Congregations
All Saints Staplehurst Changing Attitudes Page
To affirm our belief, we signed up to the InclusiveChurch.net declaration on the 20th January 2005.
The InclusiveChurch.net Staplehurst page
The InclusiveChurch.net Statement of belief is as follows :
We affirm that the Church's mission, in obedience to Holy Scripture, is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every generation.
We acknowledge that this is Good News for people regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation.
We believe that, in order to strengthen the Gospel's proclamation of justice to the world, and for the greater glory of God, the Church's own common life must be justly ordered.
To that end, we call on our Church to live out the promise of the Gospel; to celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the body of Christ; and in the ordering of our common life to open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation.
The Trinity Icon by Andrei RublevPerhaps the most famous of all Russian Orthodox icons is by Andrei Rublev. In this icon, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit gather around a table, almost hand-in-hand, pointing to each other in an intimate circle of love that is never interrupted. Three of the four spots at the table are taken; the fourth spot, of course, is reserved for you and me. The concept of the Trinity is not one found directly in the Bible but is one which has evolved from the Christian understanding of the way God is.
In a national survey, participants were asked to name the three things they most long to hear. What do you think they answered? “I love you,” “You are forgiven,” and “Supper is ready.” All three things involve intimacy with others and seem to flow from the God depicted in this icon.
At God's very heart is a community of three and we are called to mirror his image. At All Saints Staplehurst, Rublev's icon has been used often as a vision for our community life, as well as an understanding of the divine life. God is community and so are we. Our understanding of collaborative ministry begins with the inclined ear and open heart, ready to receive, in love, the holy which is the other. We seek to unite with others on the same path in our common ministry, despite all our differences. We want to be a truly inclusive church, ready to welcome others. That is sometimes a painful and difficult journey when ideas clash and people disagree but this is Jesus's prayer for us.
“The glory that you (Father) have given me, I have given them, that they may become completely one” John 17 verse 22
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