The rainbow badge at the top of our homepage tells anyone browsing our webpage that Saint John the Evangelist is a safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) people.
A welcoming space is a wonderful and hospitable thing! We welcome visitors and long time parishioners alike each time we gather. Being a safe space goes a few steps beyond being a welcoming space.
As a safe space, we strive to create a faith community where everyone’s story is respected as their own, held in confidence, and not shared without their permission. We speak from our own experience, and ask others what they need in order to feel comfortable in our faith community. We listen. At the same time, we recognize that everyone is human, and may make judgmental or prejudiced statements. We do not shame or shun one another; rather we seek inclusive conversation. Consider the ways you tell your story, and the ways you encourage others to share their own stories. Our attitude towards one another makes us a safe space.
Saint John’s embracing of safe space is not new. In 2012, we had many conversations as a parish about the impact changing our marriage policy to include homosexual and other non-gender conforming couples would have on us as a parish. Along with taking a position opposing the marriage amendment to the state constitution, making our marriage policy inclusive was a public sign of our becoming a safe space for GLBTQ people.
Jesus taught love of God and love of neighbor as the most important commandments. When we create a safe environment for everyone, we honor his teaching.