We hold several values which will be upheld in our worship together:· Many people in our community already worship, but feel our perspectives to be missing. Many others would like to worship but feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in other settings.
· There are few religious communities worshipping centered in the experiences of our community.
· The Welcome Ministry community is gifted in diverse experiences, visual arts, music, poetry, and performing arts.
· We value the diversity of religious and atheist perspectives in our community.
· We also value the roots of the ministry and support of religious and secular individuals and organizations.
· Pastors Jay Wilson and Megan Rohrer are pastors to the Welcome Ministry community. They come from Lutheran traditions and value interfaith pastoral care. This means that they can offer the Christian sacraments of baptism and communion as well as the practices and rituals of worship and confession, but that they can also respectfully work with individuals of all and no faith backgrounds without proselytizing.
· We seek to be rooted in the Lutheran lectionary texts, informed and inclusive of all beliefs. There will always be opportunity to share a text with the larger church, as well as opportunity to avoid scripture.
· We strive to hold the voices of community participants central in our planning and worship. We particularly strive to hear the voices most frequently dismissed or ignored central to our worship together.
· We strive to make worship as accessible to everyone as possible. We commit to always having access to people with mobility disabilities, vision and reading disabilities, mental health status, and sensory disabilities. Access to people who are feeling shy, traumatized, or oppressed are also priorities. If you see ways we can increase our accessibility, tell Pastor Jay.
· We will seek to avoid as many potential trauma, anxiety, and sensory triggers as possible. We have a quiet room available if you feel overwhelmed or just need time alone. Please let us know what triggered you when you feel better so that we can avoid it in the future.
· Worship will in no way ever be required or recommended in order to access Welcome Ministry services, meals, or events. It is entirely voluntary.
· Pastor Jay can only do one thing at a time. Please make an appointment or come to the Welcome Center on Tuesday 2-4pm if you have individual needs.
We seek to provide a welcoming environment for everyone. Because we know the history and current climate of many religions excluded and continues to exclude many in our community, we offer the following statement of welcome. If you do not see yourself of your concern listed, talk to Pastor Jay and know that we mean you are welcome here!
You are welcome here however you identify or experience your own:
· Sexual orientation and gender identity
· Religion, philosophy, or atheism
· Disability, illness, HIV/AIDS status, mental health, Deaf community, or assistive technology use
· Veteran or peace movement participation, political commitments or political avoidance
· Race, ethnic origin, culture, immigration status, and language
· Height, weight, pregnancy, having had or protested abortion, and body shape
· Homelessness, evicted, sharing, squatting, renting, in a shelter, owning, or creatively housed
· Age and generation
· Trauma survivor, psychiatric consumer/survivor, or seeking to access or avoid mental health systems
· Whether you feel dirty or smelly, whether you can wash your body and clothes regularly or not
· Criminal history, incarceration, or current dilemmas about the law (as long as you are acting safely)
· Income amount and source, welfare benefits status, relationship to the Social Security system
· Education, literacy, and learning style
· Any other reason you might feel or have been excluded.
In order to uphold this welcome, in addition to our regular program rules we ask participants to commit to the following guidelines. We will help to follow these, as they take skill and self-awareness that are new to many people:
· We encourage the sharing of individual faith experiences. Proselytizing is not allowed.
Sharing sounds like “I believe…” and proselytizing sounds like “you should believe” or “do this.”
· Participate at your own pace. We encourage you to pay attention to your body and mind and to take care of yourself. Some ways to do this include taking breaks if you get overwhelmed, seeking help if you need it, or choosing how to participate that works best for you.
· No racism, homophobia, sexism, disability discrimination, ageism, classism, or other oppression. We all work together as a community in learning ways to speak to and about each other that welcome all.
· Take turns, allow people to share the worship space.
· To maintain a place of calm and safe worship, we especially remember the rule of no threatening behavior. This includes screaming. If you need to scream, please ask Jay for a space or step outside.
· We cannot help with individual needs during worship. Please schedule a time with Pastor Jay or come to our regular events (see last point on front).