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Sermon Devotional: Welcoming and Belonging in an Episcopal School
Father Nate Bostian
Welcoming and Belonging in an Episcopal School

On Wednesday during Eucharist, we talked about how the Episcopal Church views Jesus, and how our mission as an Episcopal School is rooted in the life and values of Jesus. We showed a video clip of our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, talking about the Episcopal Church as a “Branch of the Jesus Movement” to spread the Love of God to all people. And we noted that Jesus did five kinds of things in his earthly ministry: First, Jesus welcomed all kinds of people: Saints and sinners, old and young, men and women, wealthy and poor, Jews and Non-Jews. And after welcoming them, Jesus fed them; Jesus healed them; Jesus confronted the evil forces that harmed them; And Jesus challenged them to become the best version of themselves. 

And, following in the footsteps of Jesus, that’s what we seek to do as an Episcopal School: First, we welcome everyone from every walk of life. We welcome you no matter how big or small your house is; We include you no matter where you pray on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; Or if you pray at all; We embrace you no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake; We value you no matter your skills or talents, interests or abilities; You belong no matter what language you speak at home or what culture you come from; We welcome you no matter who you voted for, or where you find yourself on the political spectrum; We include you no matter whether you identify as conservative or liberal, traditional or progressive; We embrace you no matter what bathroom you use, what clothes you wear, or who you fall in love with; We value you no matter the color of your skin or hair or eyes; You belong no matter your body shape or size; Because we ALL are beautiful, and made in God’s image. And after welcoming everyone, we feed them around our tables of fellowship. We encourage everyone on a path of healing and wholeness socially and emotionally, intellectually and academically, physically and spiritually. And we challenge each other to become the best version of ourselves, made in the image of God.

Questions for Consideration:

During Eucharist, we talked about our “family values” and practices as an Episcopal School. We discussed how Jesus welcomed all kinds of people, and therefore we ought to welcome everyone. In what ways does ESD do a good job of being a welcoming community? In what ways could we do better at welcoming every person who comes here?

We also discussed that just as Jesus healed people, we also strive to set people on a path of healing and wholeness when they are at ESD. What people and groups and resources are at ESD to help people find healing and wholeness? How can we access those resources?

Finally, we talked about how Jesus challenged people to be the best version of themselves, and how we are called to do the same. In what ways does ESD challenge us to be the best we can be? How could we do better at challenging ourselves and each other?

A Prayer for Episcopal Mission. BCP page 101

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.