The West Charleston Church of the Brethren (WCCOB) includes in its mission and vision the intention to “welcome unconditionally.” To be clear that those who have been excluded in other places or times are truly included in this welcome, the WCCOB congregation has adopted the following position statement which expands and clarifies what it means for us as a community to try and live out Jesus’ love of neighbor.
“We are aware and concerned that in our society, many experience discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, native language, legal status, social or economic status, religious background, age, ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We confess that we are still dismantling in ourselves and in our structures some of the bias and prejudice that has been internalized and built into the systems we live in.
As followers of Jesus who said you should love your neighbor as yourself, we, the West Charleston Church of the Brethren, agree that we will offer unconditional welcome. We will stand in solidarity with all our members and friends who are vulnerable or marginalized because of their identity or legal status, and commit ourselves to provide support, protection and shelter as appropriate to the extent of our capacity. Toward this end, we commit to our own transformation, individually and collectively, as we strive for the beloved community of Jesus.”
As we continue to follow the Spirit in living out our welcoming statement, one of the most visible expressions of offering welcome regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation would be openness to same-sex weddings. With this in mind, the following statement was approved by the congregation on July 28, 2019:
“For couples of our congregation or couples who have come to us seeking a minister, our pastors have the congregation’s blessing to officiate legal marriages for any couple with whom they have counseled and find a healthy relationship.”