What does it mean to “welcome” someone into the church? This is a question that has been talked about a lot in our parent denomination, “The United Church of Christ!” The discussion is spurred on by the realization that “The Church,” “The Church of Jesus Christ” is about inclusion not exclusion! This is illustrated many times in the ministry of Jesus, back in biblical times, when he walked with his disciples in the region of his birth. Jesus reached out to the marginalized all the time! He reached out to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and those that were pushed out by the elite and even the Temple leaders during that time-period. We can safely say, with conviction, that Jesus was reaching out to “everyone” welcoming them into the saving grace of God!
The “extravagant welcome” theology of Jesus caused this statement to be adopted by our denomination and by our local church: “Whoever you are and wherever you are in life’s journey; you are welcome here.”
At our church, “The Riviera United Church of Christ” we extend an “extravagant welcome” to everyone who visits us for worship. It is our hope and prayer that everyone will come to know the church which Jesus envisioned, is for everyone! As the pastor of this congregation, I personally welcome you to come, just as you are, and worship with us this Sunday! We gather for service at 10 AM.
Blessings, Pastor Tim Woodard