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The Forum from November 21

Radical Welcome 2021: Updating a Classic, Recommitting to the Dream 

The Reverend Canon Dr. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Assisting Priest at St. Bart’s, who wrote Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other, and the Spirit of Transformation fifteen years ago, takes another look at the concept as the second edition of her book is released. 


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You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

– 2 Corinthians 9:11


Everybody needs a place.
We invite you to make this place yours.

Here is a place that is ancient and new, a faith that we hold going back to Jesus, back to his spiritual ancestors, back to those who walked the earth and found holy ground. And what we do is often based on really ancient patterns—worship and music; loving service to the poor, the hurting, the lonely; working for justice and peace; lively, fearless education and formation of minds and souls. And that faith is also completely contemporary, engaged in the culture and the needs of the moment.


The dignity and worth of every person. An open minded, passionate commitment to truth. The importance of everyone’s own spiritual journey. God’s friends wherever we find them. Seeking Christ in every person who comes through the door. The sacredness of life’s rites of passage. The value of community. The hard work necessary to make sure that all are welcomed. Telling the truth about life’s challenges. A “user-friendly” church experience. Children, youth and families.


Claiming to have all the answers. Elitism and exclusivism, especially in church. Bigotry for any reason. Authoritarianism. Indifference to injustice and suffering. Certitude in the face of ambiguity and superficial answers to hard questions. Boring sermons, bad music and general cluelessness.
(So, God help us, because we don’t always avoid these!)


Community, open hearts, open minds, open arms. Faith. Fortitude. Staying current, but equally staying rooted in tradition. Reason and honesty. Civic responsibility as New Yorkers, Americans and global citizens. Debate that allows for mutual respect. Music and beauty for their own sake. Joy in God’s creation. Anyone who makes an effort to get to know and follow Jesus.


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