A little more than a year ago I wrote the following:
We stumbled into this little old church in Paris and soon discovered that they are attempting a grand experiment--welcoming anyone and everyone. Based on the half-empty sanctuary on any given Sunday, this experiment has not yet “caught on,” which is unfortunate but perhaps understandable. There are Democrats and Republicans sitting on the same pew; open and proud heterosexuals sharing a hymnbook with open and proud homosexuals; Bible devotees in conversation with people who distrust the Bible, believers in the virgin birth sharing pot-luck suppers with folks who dismissed that notion years ago. It’s a strange group.
Every Sunday, Pastor Charlotte spreads her arms across the communion table and says, “This table is open to all. It is Christ who invites us,” and acts like she means it. Yesterday, a new member, upon hearing about a hateful comment overheard in a café, replied with some exasperation in his voice, “Well until I found this church I would have just condemned that person to hell, but now I’ve learned to just move on over and make room for him at the table!” We cracked up. It’s just so much fun!
It saddens me to report that the experiment failed. Last wee, two days after Pastor Charlotte informed the church elders that she was going to participate in a commitment ceremony for 2 men who have been regular visitors at our church they asked for her resignation. She, who consistently preached year after year that "all means all" is no longer welcome at the church. We are heartbroken.