A Church for All

Gayle E. Pitman, pictures by Laure Fournier. Albert Whitman & Co., 2018

If you’re part of a spiritual community that you’re proud of because it opens its doors to everyone, if you want to emphasize that a church is a place where everyone should feel safe, welcomed, and affirmed, if you want a way to share this understanding and pride with a new generation, then this book will help you do all of that.

In this LGBTQ-positive book, we first see two dads eating breakfast with their children, two women hand-in-hand on their morning walk, so many variations of gender and relationships, all making their way to church. “Weak and healthy, neat and messy, poor and wealthy, plain and dressy; All embracing spirit gracing, each one at our church for all!”

Inspired by Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco and other inclusive churches, this book celebrates a spiritual community that embraces all people – no matter their age, race, class, gender identity, or sexual orientation – in love and faith.

This book is a wonderful way to illustrate the kind of community SSUC has created and still creates each time it gathers. It’s a beautiful way to show children in very specific words and pictures that it is a beautiful thing to build community where everyone is welcome and feels that they have a place. Some of the best moments of this book are hidden in the various people sitting in the church….it’s lovely to linger on the pages and find all the weird, wonderful people in the pews!

When I read this book recently, a dad of twins connected instantly to one of the pages that begins “Bodies wiggling, mommies reading, children giggling, daddies pleading…” A slice of real life that affirms and encourages that children will always be noisy and active and messy…and that’s OKAY.

Let’s read this book, celebrate all that it represents as a model of radical exclusivity, and celebrate how we’re able to create a spirit of welcome in our churches, our homes, our neighbourhoods…everywhere.