“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28
St Gabriel’s is home to a diverse community of people, each at different points on a journey together with Christ. We value our diversity and recognise that this is a strength that helps to reflect the whole tapestry of God’s creation. We also believe God loves and has a plan for every individual, regardless of their ability, age, inherited or expressed faith, gender identity, race, sexuality, marital status or financial means. We want this to be a church where all people feel welcome, safe, valued and free to worship without fear of discrimination. Within this breadth we seek to foster behaviour within our community that we believe honours God and promotes Jesus Christ as Saviour. Our primary revelation for this is the Bible, which we believe contains good news for all people. We also look to God’s leading through the work of His Holy Spirit who we believe is alive and active today.
We endeavour to be a church that does not exclude anyone on the grounds of ability. Our aim is that all who worship at St Gabriel’s of any ability feel important and valued as part of the community without experiencing any barriers that inhibit or stop them being able to access the services and activities we offer. We realise that to achieve this we need to be aware of the physical, communication, sensory and sometimes unseen needs of others. We are prepared to make the necessary changes so that all are enabled to worship God and fully engage with church life and we welcome dialogue to help us improve this.
We recognise the value and God-given purpose of every person irrespective of gender – male, female, transgender, non-binary or any other gender identity. We affirm people of all gender identities in any role, including areas of leadership. We want to be a community that welcomes and nurtures each individual person, irrespective of gender identity, to grow the gifts and talents that God has given them, enabling us all to live our lives as Jesus calls us to.
God loves each one of us unconditionally, irrespective of our sexual orientation. We recognise however that LGBTQI+ persons have often not received this love from the church, and it has not provided a safe space to explore what they are thinking and feeling about God and the world. We are opposed to homophobic behaviour and instead want to create space where people can explore the range of theological possibilities without fear of condemnation or judgement from anyone. We recognise the tension between different interpretations of scripture but are committed to listening well to the Holy Spirit and one another and accepting each other in love, learning to delight in our differences.
We actively seek to embrace and learn from different cultures and doing so has played a big part in our church life. We unequivocally reject all forms of racism and are committed to actively promoting inclusion of all ethnicities at all levels within the life of the church. We hope that by being proactive in our approach, we might also be a positive influence for equality for our community, other churches, and the wider world.
We recognise that journeying together in this way is not always easy and do not profess to hold all the answers but seek to work out our faith and beliefs in line with the statements above. We ask that if you decide to join us on this journey that you also commit to loving one another, especially those different from you, and commit to seeking truth in God’s word as we pursue a desire to be more like Jesus and learn to follow him.
For some helpful resources about race and equality issues, please click here