Christians urged to go beyond hospitality to 'radical welcome'

By staff writers
28 Jan 2009

Hospitality is key to growing any organization, but women in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are looking beyond sociability to the much deeper relationships needed to sustain a Christian community’s alternative values.

The Women of the ELCA network facilitating and online and in-person discussion of the provocative book Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation, by the Rev Stephanie Spellers. The online deliberations will include live chats and a blog supported by downloadable resources.

Stephanie Spellers is an Episcopal priest and the lead organizer for the Crossing—an emerging worship community in Boston—while also being the minister for radical welcome for the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Paul.

She describes ‘radical welcome’ as something “that recognizes every person as a bearer of Christ and seriously tries to welcome each person’s gifts, presence and power — regardless of the structures of oppression in the wider church and society.”

She unpacks the practical and theological implications of this in an article she has written for the January/February 2009 issue of Lutheran Woman Today, the magazine of Women of the ELCA.

Information about the online discussion can be found at http://tinyurl.com/dbwwxx on the ELCA website.

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