I first came across Inclusive Church in 2017, when I invited Ruth Wilde and Peterson Toscano to the church on their UK tour. I am a church minister of Hull Community Church, and over 25 years we had moved from being a conservative evangelical church, to fully inclusive and registering the church for same-sex weddings. I came to realise that many church leaders were asking the same questions I had done, but they were afraid to be vocal and open about it. So when I heard of Inclusive Church, and later Ruth asked be to be an Ambassador for the east Yorkshire region, I was very honoured. I’ve had many church leaders come to me, like Nicodemus in the night, wanting to hear our story and be given hope that a church can move forward on this issue without breaking apart.
After I joined Inclusive church, I bought the IC set of books on all the other areas of inclusion, and I was blown away by them. The stories of real people’s lives in church, were so relevant and sometimes heartbreaking. I realised that I needed to open my eyes more and see people as individuals, and step into their shoes. Inclusive Church has influenced me to make positive changes in church to help people with disabilities, poverty, gender and much more. I think I am better now at meeting new people who come to church from diverse backgrounds, and feeling more confident about asking the right questions, to make sure that church is a fulfilling experience for everyone that comes.
I support Inclusive Church because it is the one place where I am inspired and motivated in practical ways to fling wide the doors of church, and not only welcome everyone but include and value every person who comes. I have come to believe that unless everyone is involved and feels that equal sense of belonging, then as a church we are not whole. IC has been the driver for these changes in the life of our church, and I can’t thank them enough.
Anne Dannerolle is the IC Regional Ambassador for Hull and East Yorkshire.
You can support the work of Inclusive Church by volunteering or donating. Get in touch with the National Coordinator to find out more about becoming a Regional Ambassador or volunteering in other ways. Donate through the website here.