I first came across Inclusive Church when our church decided to ‘come out’ as inclusive. We realised that if we wanted people to know they would be welcomed and accepted, then we needed to tell them. So we contacted Inclusive Church and the now, ‘OneBodyOneFaith’ and registered with both.
We wanted to go beyond just registering and we bought the set of Inclusive Church books which our clergy have read, and one of our house-groups used them for study and then shared with the rest of the church. We had, for example, a presentation on poverty and inclusion, including a drama, and highlighted the ways that someone without much money could feel uncomfortable in church life (‘please donate to this’, ‘suggested donation’ for that, and the offering plate being passed around with only sometimes a mention that it’s fine to just pass it along). We sent a letter to the government with our concerns about the rollout of universal credit and the foodbank rep gave us a reminder of what was needed at the moment (the foodbank collection box was always out each week).
I have been grateful to be connected to Inclusive Church for resources and information, for attending the annual AGM lecture with my colleagues (listening to, and then meeting, Ruth Hunt in 2018 was wonderful!), and it feels very important to me that there is this whole network of people with the same interest at heart – of wanting to share the inclusive heart of God in how we live and in how we do church. We are not alone, which is wonderful (and also means that there are people there who have likely got ideas and resources when we get stuck!).
I’m an ambassador with Inclusive Church now and happy to hear from people who want to find out more, or to connect with an inclusive church. I am delighted to work together with the other inclusive city centre churches so that we can help people to find the church, or churches, that are a good ‘fit’ for them. We also work together as part of a team who plan Christians at Pride, Birmingham (in the parade and on the roadside), advertising together to welcome students, and sharing information and resources throughout the year.
Inclusive Church is crucial in helping us all to live out inclusion – there are others who understand, who can help resource and share advice and ideas, and the online register helps people to find us (and helps inclusive churches to find each other) – it’s all invaluable. Thank you Inclusive Church.
Ruth Yorke is a Deacon in the ministry team at Carrs Lane Church in Birmingham city centre and a regional ambassador for Inclusive Church.