Christmas Reflections from the Chair
It'll soon be Christmas and, since one of my other hats is as an ordained elder in the Church of Scotland, previously ordained as an elder in the United Reformed Church, I hope you'll excuse me if my reflection takes on a bit of a spiritual flavour.
At its heart, Christmas is about inclusion. You wouldn't always know it from some of the attitudes prevalent in the Christian church, but it is. To use a religious word, Christmas is about 'incarnation', which is about the Divine becoming enfleshed - taking human form: the inclusion of God as one of us.
But 'incarnation' isn't just the story of one man, born 2,000 years ago. It's the story of 'everyman': of every human being on the face of the earth, both past, present and future. A central theme of the Judeo/Christian tradition is that human beings are somehow formed in the image of God. That means there is Divinity at the very heart of all of us and that we are all included. There is a place at the table for everyone.
So what has that got to do with D&G LGBT Plus?
At the heart of D&G LGBT Plus are the joint tenets of equality and diversity - inclusion. There's a place at our table for everyone. We don't ask questions about gender, sexuality, status, age, religion, ethnicity, or whatever. We aim to treat all of our members equally and to give everyone a voice. And we don't even ask whether someone is a member or not (except that, as a membership organisation, only members are able to vote at our formal meetings).
D&G LGBT Plus is an open community and all of our trustees, our staff, and our volunteers are committed to being a community that includes everyone. Many expressions of the Christian church fail abysmally when it comes to inclusion but there are local church communities here and there that are intentionally inclusive.
Just like the Christian church, D&G LGBT Plus doesn't always get it right but my door as Chair is always open to anyone who has suggestions, questions, or concerns: I'm happy to listen to anyone.
And if anyone is in or around Dumfries over Christmas, my own church, Dumfries Northwest, has services on Christmas Eve at 11:00 and 18:00, and a short communion service on Christmas Day at 10:00. Everyone and anyone is welcome and I'd love to see you there.
On behalf of the Board, I'd like to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.