I was going to speak at great length to how wonderful my new church, Congregación Luterana Cristo Rey, is. I was going to talk about their fantastic welcoming tradition of singing to visitors, in addition to their habit of singing their own “Happy Birthday” song to those who celebrated during the week before. That stuff is all still fantastic and part of the loving community, but I thought of a better way to communicate their purpose.
Then they recently published an open letter to their Facebook page critiquing the leadership of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and inviting them to be more welcoming to all Christians. This leadership discouraged the participation of LGBTQIA Christians and actively excluded “El Camino,” a group working for inclusive ministry in Peru.
There is no place in Christianity (and arguably most religions) for the selective exclusion of any group of people.
Humans are intersectional one and it is common to take on many distinct religious, racial, gender, sexual, and ethnic identities. There is no reason to sacrifice one of those identities for the advancement of another. Cristo Rey takes the time to explain exactly why that is and invite others to recognize that truth.
I’m completely in support of Cristo Rey and so thankful that they have also welcomed me in the last month as a guest in their congregation. They make some incredible points about intersectionality as well.
I include the translation below, but check out the actual post for yourself.
“Christ King Lutheran Congregation
OPEN LETTER, motivated by a hurtful act that occurred during the Week of PRayer for the Unity of Christians from January 17-24, 2014.
We are a Church that celebrates diversity: The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, teaches us that we should pray for unity of the Church everywhere, it instructs us that we should unite in prayer, without distinction whatsoever. For this reason, we have joined with the other Christian denominations that are protestant, Catholic and Orthodox during the 8th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
We are an Ecumenical Church. And we recognize that this is a difficult path because it requires me to tolerate what I don’t understand or share. But we desire to overcome the tolerance to arrive at acceptance of each other, though we are distinct, with the hope to arrive to an us, that is an “Us in Christ, members of the same universal church.”
Desiring the true unity: We reject any type of discrimination in this walk and therefore we deeply deplore the in this opportunity, the Christians of the Inclusive Ecumenical Christian Community, “El Camino” was excluded from participating actively in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity after having been invited to participate because of the ministry they develop with the LGBT community in Peru.
The Lutheran Church Cristo Rey salutes the initiative to bring together the diversity of Christians to prayer for unity and rejects energetically any act of discrimination and loving calls our involved siblings to reflect on this approach and on the contradiction as it is involved with the aim of our prayer. At the same time, we urge everyone to follow in the example of Jesus to draw the excluded of society near without distinction.
May the God of Life lead us to Justice and Peace.
Lutheran Congregation Cristo Rey
Surco, Lima January 2015″