For decades Otterbein has been an open and accepting fellowship, unashamed to advocate for women, immigrants, and the LBGT community. It is preached from the pulpit, and practiced in committee appointments and hiring. We know in our hearts and within these beautiful stone walls who we are. But, the community does not know. Although we have posted “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE” on our outdoor signboard and with other Methodist Churches, we have the motto “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”, the full meaning of these statements is unclear outside our doors.
Jesus went public to make clear that his ministry was world-changing and rule-challenging. He healed on the Sabbath in view of the public. He interrupted the crowd intent on murder of the adulterous woman. He summoned Zacchaeus down from the tree while walking with the people. He touched the lepers, and let a whore wash his feet in his disciples’ presence. The public watched (and judged) while Jesus used love and grace to break the rules.
It is time for Otterbein to go public. It is time to show our community at Queen and Clay, and our friends connected to us on social media, and all those who read our bulletins and newsletters and correspondence. It is time to go public with the message that we fully accept those who may be unacceptable to other faith communities –persons who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and others who are marginalized – those imprisoned by addictions, mental illness, and poverty. It is time to bring the rainbows out into our hallways and publications, and our front doorstep.
It is time to be more like Jesus, and show love and grace to all. Out loud. In public.