Thank you to all who filled in the consultation form to help the PCC decide on what will be displayed on the East wall going forward. The result showed that the clear majority of people would prefer to keep the cross or alternate between the cross and the banner. However, the PCC were also deeply challenged by the number of people who commented both on the forms and at the PCC meeting, that they were uncomfortable with how the banner weakens and undermines our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, specifically in our concern for racial diversity.
This important point was taken very seriously by the PCC. As a church we want to welcome all, and we want all to feel comfortable in our church building. As a leadership team, we have taken very seriously our training in the area of racial justice and as a church we will continue to learn and discover how we can better see the world with new eyes, in the hope that we can better love our neighbour and love God. We are a church which professes inclusivity and radical diversity, and so for these reasons it was decided that the banner would not be returned to the East wall and that the cross would remain there.
We know that the language we use in our churches, and the environment we create has the power to include others and bless them, but also to push away and even harm. We recognise we have a long way to go but each decision made is a step forward.
If you are interested in attending training on matters of racial justice and more specifically unconscious bias training, please click the link below and complete the form. The church leadership will soon share the dates for the next session.
By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, transparent and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-18 from The Message translation).
Revd Jeremy Putnam
On behalf of the Ministry Team and PCC
A collection of thoughts and reflections from the people of All Saints.