Thanks to Northfield UCC and the MN Conference UCC’s COMMAntary for sharing this Great Idea!

The article is brief, so here it is, verbatim:

WELCOMING ALL, NO MATTER THE PROTEST

Every week, Northfield UCC welcomes people with these words:

Welcome to you if you are young or old or a little bit of both.

Welcome to you if you are gay or straight or a little bit of both.

Welcome to you if you are male or female or a little bit of both or neither.

No matter who you are, who yo love, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. And because you are here, this body is whole and perfect.”

In the spirit of those words, the church hosted a family-friendly bgospel drag show this fall that drew a packed house, but also hostile protestors.

“We thought this show would be a fun way to send a message that we are truly loving and inclusive,” said Rev. Cindy Maddox, the church’s senior minister. “And it did just that. We have new people coming to worship because fit and some new young people finding a church home after many years. May neighbors haves sent notes of support and encouragement.”

While Maddox says the unwanted attention from protestors was deeply disturbing, the energy inside the church more than compensated. “It was so powerful it was palpable. Several performers had grown up in the church and had left so coming back was healing for them.”

Indeed, during the middle of the show, one performer said to the assembled crowd, “It’s nice to finally be in a church where I feel fully welcomed,” and another said, “Yes, it’s amazing to be back in a church.”

Read a Northfield News article about the show here.

Could your congregation host a gospel drag show? Who might attend? How can you invite in joy and prepare for detractors?

What other public offerings might you share to welcome people often rejected by their spiritual communities?

At ConNext, we learned about a congregation that hosts its high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance, offering students dinner each week and a safe space to meet.

Coming out parties are a powerful space for healing and growth: could your congregation support community-wide festivities on National Coming Out Day? (That’s October 11, annually.)

What about a Pride Worship Series throughout the month of June? Draw people in with a Pride float, party, or barbecue/outdoor gathering. Find Pride Worship resources in our lib guide.

Could your congregation’s clergy become more well-versed in counseling and supporting LGBTQ+ folx? We’ve got some support for that in our Pastoral Care: LGBTQ+ lib guide.

Find additional supportive resources and more ideas in our Faith Formation: LGBTQ+ lib guide