Implications of Emmanuel
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"The Lord be with you."
"And also with you."

Sign language can be a theological activity. For example, take the ASL sign for "with." Hand to hand, skin, muscles and bones, veins and cartilage, cells and all the rest. Two complex "others" coming together in a simple, tactile gesture of accompaniment. 

I first learned to sign the church’s liturgical greeting several years ago. Ever since, I've loved thinking about the implications of that particular hand-picture, in that particular phrase, in that particular moment, inviting God to be with the other person—not above, not apart, not remote, but touching. 

That's the meaning of the Incarnation, isn't it? That in Emmanuel, God came to be with us, in all the varied physicality that makes us human. In Jesus, God is embodied. In Jesus, God says, "I get it. I'm willing to touch you. I'm with you."  

Sounds comforting, right?  Except for that pesky implication that God is with people whose embodied humanity is different from our own race, ethnicity, gender expression, or sexual identity, for example.  We’d prefer to keep “them” at arm’s length, rather than affirm and risk being touched, perhaps changed.

The good news of Christmas is that it’s not up to us. “God with us” means that God chooses to come to the glorious diversity of Creation, touching people in their full humanity with love, with grace, with gifts for service. Thanks be to God for being with us—all of us.

In that gratitude, we at Room for All wish you a blessed Christmas.  The Lord be with you.

THANK YOU!
At the end of June, we announced a generous offer from Phil and Nancy Miller of Holland, Michigan, who promised to match up to $25,000 in gifts from new donors, or increased gifts from 2015 donors. We're grateful to announce that July 1 - Nov. 30 qualifying gifts total just under $38,000! Thank you to the Millers, and to all who responded so generously! 

Gifts from personal or family foundations are a great way to build support for RfA's ministry. Or, maybe you'd like to seed a challenge grant and invite your friends to add to it? This is an effective way to let your values be known in your personal sphere of influence, and to help RfA at the same time. Can't create a matching challenge? How about hosting a living room benefit event? Room for All could not accomplish all that we do without the help of all those who support full LGBTQ inclusiveness in the life and ministry of the Reformed Church in America. For more information, contact mpaarlberg@roomforall.com.
Our documentary film has been viewed over 1,000 times since it was released 6 weeks ago. "A Welcoming Space" tells the story of our beginning, including scenes from the 2005 General Synod trial that impelled our movement into existence, interviews with founding members, and the stories of people whose lives have been touched by our ministry.  It's a wonderful resource for introducing people you know to our ministry, or for use in congregational or classis conversations.  If you would like to show the film and schedule a visit with an RfA representative, please contact Cameron Van Kooten Laughead at cameron@roomforall.com.
RfA Rosters

Our new roster of RCA-ordained welcoming and affirming ministers is up to 204 signatories--thank you!  And WELCOME to "Old First" Reformed Church in Brooklyn, NY, the 31st "Room for All" congregation!

Proposed Marriage Amendment Resources

Many ordained office-holders in the RCA may not agree about same-gender marriage, but do share common concern for the polity, health and future of the RCA, and foresee significant negative impact on our life together if the proposed marriage amendments are ratified by the classes.  As we have studied, listened, and considered the various responses that have been offered, it seems that they fall into one or more of three areas, described in a summary document that has been posted on our website along with other resources in response to General Synod 2016.   We invite you to share this resource with your classis members.

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