Walking the Talk of Welcome - 2012 Oregon Synod Assembly Workshop
This workshop will focus on discussion around why speaking our welcome is often so much easier than actually living out active hospitality to the stranger in our congregations. How do we learn to translate our intent to welcome everyone to actual hospitable behavior that goes beyond mere tolerance of "differentness" to a celebration of diversity?
Here are some of the questions we'll be trying to find answers for during this workshop - please feel free to offer your comments about any of them. I'd love to hear what you think!
General Questions for Thought:
How has grouping together based on “sameness” enabled human survival and progress through history?
In what ways is the ELCA still based on ethnic/social/cultural “sameness”? As a church, how have we held fast to the values of our Northern European Lutheran ancestors?
Why does diversity feel so scary? How does losing our “sameness” threaten us in deep ways?
On how it feels to be welcomed – or not:
Have you ever walked into a group or congregation and felt un-welcomed? What specific behaviors led to your feeling of not being welcomed? What was said or not said to you? Why did you not feel a part of the group?
Have you ever walked into a group or congregation and felt welcomed? What specific behaviors led to your feeling of being welcomed? What was said or not said to you? Why did you feel a part of the group?
The welcome we offer in our congregations:
How open or closed do you think your congregation is to people who are not “like us”? (Hint: What secrets do people keep in order to remain accepted in the group?)
Is our welcome for people “like us” or for “the stranger”? How do we move members of a congregation from awkward discomfort to active hospitality, especially to the stranger?