Strengthening Unity Within Diversity – Possible Action Steps

Reaffirming and reinforcing our commitment to Jesus, to our core beliefs, and to our vision, mission and values as gleaned from the bible, while cultivating healthy conversation around cultural and theological areas in which we accept and embrace diversity.


How will we accomplish this? By…
– Ongoing attention to the church calendar in worship and teaching.
– Annually revisiting and reaffirming our core beliefs, vision, mission and values in worship, teaching and communication (print and online).
– Regular community conversations to explore current cultural and theological issues (e.g., reconciliation with Indigenous communities, creation care, LGBTQ, racism, abortion, medical assistance in dying, pornography).

10 Responses to “Strengthening Unity Within Diversity – Possible Action Steps”

  1. Jan Nerenberg says:

    I believe that this is a great start. Connecting with the Connection and a.m. service folks in regular ways, I think is another way, whether this be in Community Converstaions, or perhaps some other group get-together.

  2. Kyla says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the inclusion of a long list of current issues to discuss, as that list was not developed out of the survey results or our committee conversations. If I recall correctly only one of those topics came up repeatedly in our survey as something community members wished to explore further during this season (creation care and Reconciliation were certainly there too, but have already been an area of focus in the previous year), and adding many more to the list takes away from the significance of our communities request to specifically explore the LGBTQ topic at this time.

  3. Cecilia says:

    I appreciate Jan and Kyla’s comments but would like to add that “the inclusion of current issues” as conversational topics smacks of an element of artifice…should those conversations not be a part of everything we do and wrestle with in sermons, teachings, small groups etc. The call to be in the world yet not of the world would require this. Does that make any sense? And I do not think the LGBTQ was the only topic that demanded exploration. As I recall poverty, racial inclusion and issues pertaining to Reconciliation also were mentioned.

  4. Kent says:

    I would agree that there were other topics referenced, but perhaps not with the same sense of collective. urgency. I also am not sure we want to become the “Church of Topical Discussion”, but clearly there was an articulated desire to open a multi-congregational discussion around this issue specifically. Identifying it as “the only issue for discussion may not be appropriat, but giving it more visibility as an important “current issue” as we have with others, I believe is important. The probable rub is that this issue will need to be handled so carefully and perhaps the real desired value is learning how to allow and encouraging discussion and understanding of differing views versus finding the “right” answer.

  5. Betty Elmgren says:

    strengthening our own community( morning service and connection) is a great place to start. I see having on-going conversation about the topics listed as a means to achieve more connectedness between the two groups at Emmanuel. The LGBTQ discussions was definitely a topic that was needs to be talked about, however, I see many of the others things listed are of great importance to attenders of our church community as well. opening up to these topics are important as well.

  6. Betty Elmgren says:

    I do like the idea also of revisiting our core beliefs,vision etc regularly as well because can help keep everyone on course.

  7. Kyla says:

    Thank you everyone for responding, I did not mean to say that topic is the only one worthy of discussion…my apologies if that was how it sounded. My fear is that a long list does not adequately address the discontent expressed via the survey results about this one particular topic.

    I would agree with ceclila that I would hate to see us become an ‘issues’ church where we address them one by one and check them off a list never to be considered again. I would hope things that are relevant in our community and culture would always be part of our walk, journeys and teaching. And we would always continue to learn and grow.

    And finally….the LGBTQ topic is scary. I’m terrified to discuss it at all…yet that’s not reason enough not to. I Would hope we simply start with listening. Listening to the experiences of the LGBTQ Christians in our community and city whether that is via media, literature or guest speakers, I think listening is the best place to start.

  8. Betty Elmgren says:

    I hope that by now we are all aware enough and open minded enough that we could discuss these topics with the kind of compassion and understanding that we as Jesus followers need to have.It’s time not to be scared, but rather to listen as Kyla says. I feel that although the LGBTQ topic is the one that was most often brought up, and needs to not be swept under the rug, some of these other topics are equally important to many and are worthy to be talked about as well.

  9. Dorothy says:

    I appreciate what you put together, Brendon. It is succinct and shows the willingness to be open to community dialogue.

  10. Kari says:

    I feel like the addition of racism, abortion, medical assistance in dying, and pornography really changes the feel and importance of the other issues that were raised in the context of the dialogue (as has been pointed out in some of the other comments). Obviously as Christians we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about any of these things with one another, but by flooding the list with specific issues I think it guarantees that we fail at our plan to have “regular community conversations” over the next 3-5 years, particularly about the three issues that came up specifically and repeatedly in the survey and dialogue (Indigenous Reconciliation, Creation Care, and LGBTQ issues). I’m also hesitant to see this expanded grouping of issues as I think the assumption can easily be made that these are all “anti” positions on issues that we’ve tended to make binary rather than multifaceted and complex. That may not be the intent, but it feels unclear to me and leaves me pretty unsettled about how open we are to really hear people’s experience and tension points without judgement or condemnation.

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