One of the roles that MCC has always played is to be an ‘oasis’, a place of renewal and refreshment for those who are engaged in these spiritual struggles. We are the community that binds up these warriors, tends their wounds and gives them strength to go back to the fight. We are the safe space where they can be fully themselves. We offer a glimpse of how it might be for every person to be fully accepted and embraced, just as they are. We are also able to give voice to the voiceless, speaking for those who have too much to lose if they speak their own truth. As I said to these groups, the Berlin Wall was pulled down by people on both sides of the wall. It takes all us to dismantle sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and other oppressions.
We also need to be vigilant in ourselves. Are there people who don’t feel welcome or comfortable at Northern Lights MCC? Do we send out messages, knowingly or unknowingly, that tell people that they have to look/sound/act a certain way in order to be acceptable to us? Someone in the congregation said that they had challenged people at their workplace who were feeling rather pleased with themselves because of their attitude to diversity. “What about people who struggle with mental illness? What about the homeless or the asylum seeker? Being ok about LGBT folk is all very well, but what about these people?” he asked. We can ask the same question of ourselves - when we are in the safe centre at NLMCC, who is still on the edges?