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Open and Affirming

Saying You're Welcome is Not Enough
SOJ at Pride 2013
Spirit of Joy has been intentional about welcoming everyone from our beginning. In calling ourselves Open and Affirming, we acknowledge that saying everyone is welcome is not enough.  Many churches say it, but only with the expectation of changing you once you are there. 

We also actively advocate for those who have been treated differently, shut out, abused, or oppressed, even by well-meaning people who think their faith calls them to do so.

We recognize that there are still barriers inside and outside the church that keep everyone from feeling welcome. Some are theological, when statements of belief are used to shut people out and not to invite them into conversation. Some are social or political, when race, ideology, gender, sexual identity or orientation, age, ability, education, or health are assigned separate homes in the overall kin-dom of God.

One thing you won't ever hear at Spirit of Joy is disrespect or second-guessing about who you are.  You won't hear backhanded welcomes like, "Love the sinner, hate the sin," or "God loves you just as you are, but also loves you too much to let you stay that way."
Here are some resources we find helpful as we continue in our journey together, with hospitality and solidarity toward all.

GLAD Alliance
GLAD Alliance seeks to transform the church into a just and inclusive community that welcomes persons of all gender expressions and sexual identities into full life and leadership.

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition
"Guided by God's vision of the common good as reflected in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, JRLC mobilizes religious communities to influence public policy in Minnesota." To that end, they publish research papers, operate two advocacy networks that directly advocate at the State Capitol, and conduct social justice forums and workshops that focus on faith and citizenship.