• Pastor Bill

“How will our Welcome Statement be used?”

The people of Saint James are thinking and praying about a Welcome Statement.

The proposed statement is:

If you are seeking the grace, love and mercy of God,

You are welcome at Saint James Lutheran Church!

No matter your age, income, race, gender or ethnicity.

No matter your abilities, addictions, physical or mental health.

No matter your sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

No matter your marital or legal or financial status.

We welcome you no matter where you may be on your faith journey.

We welcome and include all because Jesus Christ welcomes and includes all.

Our unity is in the love of God made known in Jesus Christ.

You are welcome here!

You can read more about the proposal here.

At a recent meeting, some asked, “How will our Welcome Statement be used if adopted?” Here is the answer to that question.


If adopted, our welcome statement would enable our pastor, staff and council to answer the question, “Am I…” or “Is my family… welcome at Saint James?” This is a surprisingly common question and comes in several forms, including “Will you celebrate my marriage or the marriage of my children, who happen to be LGBTQ?”

This means, that a decision about our welcome statement will affect our actions as a congregation.

We would likely include our Welcome Statement in our Annual Reports, on our webpage and on our welcome displays by the front doors. It would likely be included periodically in our monthly newsletters and in our occasional promotional materials. It would likely be used by expressions of the larger church (synod and national) in reference to what kind of congregation we are, i.e. open and affirming, welcoming, inclusive, etc.

If adopted, a Welcome Statement might be an outreach tool to the 50% of our community that is not currently affiliated with a congregation or faith community. If adopted, our proposed welcome statement might be a beautiful proclamation of the Gospel to several thousand people in the Johnston area who do not currently feel welcomed by any Christian congregation.

This is how our proposed Welcome Statement might be used if adopted.


We will discuss our proposed Welcome Statement again during the Adult Education Class on Sunday, October 20 at 10:30am in the NE corner of the narthex. Specifically we will be discussing what the Bible says about hospitality and homosexuality.

I am thankful for our council and congregation’s willingness to have a thoughtful conversation and decision-making process on what has been for many a difficult set of issues. Thank you.


Pastor Bill



Copyright © 2019 Pastor Bill Bernau. All rights reserved.