Feeling ashamed to realise this is actually my first post of 2019 and its almost April ! To those who tell me that they appreciate this Blog, Im truly sorry but life has, as usual, been very busy.
So what has prompted tonights message ? Ive returned from an EDI meeting on behalf of the Methodist Church. EDI stands for the team that looks after Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and tonights meeting has been both challenging to our thinking and to future actions. We have a passion that the Methodist Church should be open and inclusive to ALL people and our conversations tonight has centred around Church accessibility being more than just fitting a disabled toilet, but about a changed attitude towards others, so that those with mobility issues, hearing issues, sight issues and many others can still feel welcome and accepted. Yes, change the buildings etc where possible but we talked about the need to change attitudes.
Our second conversation was about inclusivity for all of the above and for so many more folk who currently feel disenfranchised by the Church.
It’s about the very nature of the Church: what is the Church here for ?; who is it for ? Do we listen to ALL people or just those that we approve of ?
Hard questions and tonight was an open and frank exchange of views, but all positively seeking the way forward. On Saturday is out District Synod and I’m hoping to include in the notices the following statement………….
“On Thursday past the EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) team met and identified issues around accessibility and inclusivity within worship. We meet again in June where we’d like to put together an accessibility audit and invite every church to consider at its Church council, its AGM or a specially convened meeting having a time of conversation around the question “if the church was truly inclusive what would it look like ?”
More after June.
I hope that if you’re in any such conversation that you’ll find it as challenging as I have tonight.