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Find Your Church

Hi, Pastor Wendy here, with a message about finding a church where you feel welcomed, safe, and comfortable. Of course, you can always find us online at The SWAN Church, but you might also want a church where you can worship side by side with other believers who share your faith.

Maybe you weren’t raised in a traditional church. If you never went to Sunday School or worship services with your parents when you were growing up, the idea of walking into a church as an adult can be intimidating. Even if you’re curious and want to explore your relationship with God as part of a worship community, taking that first step to walk into a new church can be difficult.

On the other hand, maybe you grew up in a church, but then outgrew it. If a church has limiting beliefs and dogma, it can be difficult to spread your spiritual wings and explore new ways of thinking about God and faith without leaving to find a new church. Most churchgoers have moved from one church to another at some point in their lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Or maybe you attended church faithfully until the day you no longer felt welcome. Maybe someone in your church didn’t believe that you could be autistic, or they think ADHD is made up. Maybe they couldn’t accept you when you came out as gay or trans. They may have even said something like,  “love the sinner but hate the sin,” Well, if what they call “sin” is who God created you to be in your heart and soul and DNA, then that statement doesn’t feel loving at all. You might feel that they’re tolerating you while praying that you will change who you are. And that’s not what God wants for you, is it? God loves the person you are, even if you’re not the same gender you were assigned at birth. Who you are drawn to love, wherever you are on the LGBTQIA spectrum or the neurodiversity spectrum, is exactly what God planned for you. God wants you to be happy, and you can’t be happy if you feel judged.

Don’t Give Up

If you’ve struggled to find a church where you feel welcome, don’t give up. Check out local church websites for clues that you might feel at home there. If you’re looking for a disability-friendly congregation, ask if they have an accessibility committee or plan.

Long ago, when I was looking for a new church, I found one whose calendar included a regular PFLAG meeting. Even though I didn’t know back then that two of my own children were trans, I knew that any church that reached out to the gay community was a church where I could feel comfortable. It was a sign of acceptance and love for everyone.

Look for Welcoming Language

Different denominations have phrases they use to indicate that they are LGBTQIA+ friendly. Presbyterians use the phrase “More Light.” United Methodist congregations that are “Reconciling,” or Evangelical Lutheran congregations that are “Reconciling in Christ” would be welcoming choices. The United Church of Christ uses “Open and Affirming,” and the American Baptist equivalent is “Welcoming and Affirming.” If you want a church where you can feel comfortable and worship with like-minded people, look online. Visit churches. Talk to the pastors.

I hope you find a church where you feel safe and welcome. Wherever you choose to worship, you’re always welcome at The SWAN Church. We love you just the way you are, no mask required.