We have learned a lot about what diversity means in a urban church dedicated to racial diversity. In a recent religious education discussion of our mission, we discussed whether STC truly represented a model of diversity. We could easily answer yes, given our make up and our history.
But then we asked if a person of any faith would actually be comfortable within our community. The answer was no, but then maybe everybody doesn't have to be comfortable here. A commitment to diversity is not about comfort, it is about a willingness to be challenged.
Everyone who is without a voice, who suffers in silence due to prejudice, discrimination and oppression, is welcomed here. And we agreed that we had no intention of making our community comfortable for folks who deny the right of individual spiritual authority, who seek to harm others or harm the earth, who seek only to gain and not to give, who seek to control and not to understand.
In short, STC's diversity is rooted within and representative of the oppressed within our society. So although we will continue to seek greater and greater diversity, we do not now nor do we envision in the future making our church a home for anyone who doesn't share our commitment to human dignity, social justice and intentional diversity. Attending STC should be a challenge as well as a homecoming.
The number one lesson we offer to anyone who cares to listen is to be true to your values, and your vision. And when you find yourself off course, get up, brush yourself off, and get back in the mix. Just keep asking the question, " What is our intention, what is our mission?" And be ready to re-invent and re-define yourself, time and time again.
©Katrina C. Hopkins1999