Minister’s Reflection: Building Inclusion and Radical Welcome in Worship

Worship services are a combination of inherited tradition risen to meet the emerging needs and creativity of worship participants and leaders. It is wise to examine our inheritances so that we can build ever more relevant, inclusive, and meaningful worship. 

Toward that end, for the past several months, the Worship Arts and Celebrations Team (WACT) has invested considerable time studying, discussing, and practicing material on radical inclusion and welcoming. WACT is the team that supports worship with worship assistants and associates, leads and co-leads worship, creates slides, coordinates ushers, and supports the decorations in the sanctuary among other things (no one does it all!). 

As we grow a wider welcome and build ever more inclusive worship, WACT invites the congregation to share a glimpse into the material we are exploring. 

For the month of September, WACT is studying and exploring this short article by Erika Hewitt and Julica Hermann de la Fuente. WACT heartily invites the congregation to read along and to reflect on the questions below. Consider how your heart and mind shift as you move down the list of questions. What does this open up for you in your experience of our shared worship? 

Following excerpted from the article

Reflection Questions for Worshipers

If you’re in the virtual or physical pews of a congregation, we invite you to ponder how you can support your worship team in expanding and exploring the ways we do worship. When you notice discomfort because something is new or different, we encourage you to engage that discomfort with curiosity and care.

Here are some reflection questions to engage by yourself, or with other congregation members:

  • If I’m feeling critical (“I don’t like this” or “I’m unhappy”):
    • Which of my needs aren’t getting met?
    • Why do I feel like disconnecting?
  • If I’m in a place of assessment (“Is this worth my participation?” or “Does this satisfy my tastes”?):
    • Can I find an opening for curiosity?
    • How is this helping shift the status quo?
  • If I’m feeling curious (“If this doesn’t serve me, personally, who might it serve?” or “What love/energy/time/vision went into this?”):
    • How can I keep moving toward appreciation?
    • How can I keep supporting preemptive radical inclusiveness?**
  • If I’m in a place of appreciation (“How does this invite me to grow and learn?” or “How does this serve our larger values?”):
    • How can I keep moving toward trust?
    • Have I shared my appreciation out loud with my congregation’s worship leaders?

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