We are a welcoming church

We have our food pantry distribution today. When advertising it on Facebook we always write, “No income or residency requirements”. When I was involved with the food pantry in Mason County we did have residency and income requirements. People had to show our administrator a utility bill with an address in our area and had to fill out forms annually about their income. Many of the food pantries around us here in Mineral County do as well. The other food pantries do not necessarily want to exclude people, but when a pantry receives USDA government commodities there are rules and regulations about who can receive them. USDA commodities would open up a whole world of different food for our pantry, but it would come at the cost of excluding people. So far the food pantry at Wesley Chapel Short Gap has been able to get by without relying on government commodities, which means we can give food out to anyone who comes without checking incomes or where people live.

As I was thinking about the “all are welcome” status of our food pantry this morning I thought about churches who advertise themselves as a “Welcoming Church” or an “Inclusive Church”. I almost went down that rabbit hole in my post today. I am not going down that road in this short blog post. But I do challenge the insinuation that a church is unwelcoming because they may teach things contrary to the ways of the world. Wesley Chapel Short Gap does teach things contrary to the world, and is still a church open to all. We have a food pantry open to all today. We have a community dinner Tuesday nights at 5:30 where everyone is welcome. We worship on Sunday mornings at 9:30 indoors and at 11:00 outside and we (at least in the 10 years I’ve been here) have never thrown anyone out of worship. We are a welcoming church. All are welcome to come.

We believe the call of Jesus is to “come and be changed”.

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