Belonging and Inclusion

Belonging and Inclusion

Since the 1960s, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church has engaged in conversations around race, privilege, community, and the Church. In this current generation of our 150-year-old congregation, we have made a commitment to dialogue, study, training, and advocacy on these topics.

In April of 2024, the BMPC Session approved a statement articulating our commitment to Belonging and Inclusion. That statement is below. To connect to the work of our Anti-Racism Committee, which is leading the congregation as we live into this statement, click here.

Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church’s Commitment to Inclusion & Belonging 

As members of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and inheritors of the legacy of its preceding denominations, we acknowledge and confront the reality of systemic racism and implicit bias within our community and the broader world. We recognize that these injustices have disproportionately affected marginalized communities, perpetuating inequality. We repent of our complicity and recognize that past wrongdoings have resulted in exclusivity, most notably impacting people of color. Historically, our church has opened our doors and hearts to create a welcoming community. Knowing our journey does not end there; we have a responsibility to further that tradition as we commit to ensuring a place of belonging and inclusion for all. We trust in God’s mercy and capacity to renew our common life.  

We understand that addressing these issues requires introspection, education, dialogue, and meaningful action. We commit ourselves to the work of dismantling systemic racism, acknowledging our own biases while promoting inclusivity within our congregation. We will be a church where all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, or background, feel valued, heard, and embraced as part of God's diverse creation. We can only fully express our identity as the Body of Christ when all are welcomed and recognized as beloved children of God whose belonging is unquestioned.  

We strive to be agents of positive change, creating a more just and compassionate world inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose words and actions embraced the disenfranchised, crossed cultural and social boundaries, and challenged all to love both neighbor and stranger.  

As an outgrowth of our willingness to learn, change, and grow, we commit:  

  • To create a deep understanding of implicit bias and racism through intentional educational initiatives. These include hosting workshops, seminars, and discussions that explore the historical roots of systemic inequalities, the impact of bias on marginalized communities, the role each of us plays in dismantling these structures, and the relevance of these issues for people of faith.
  • To promote continuous improvement by examining our internal practices to ensure that they are inclusive and equitable, addressing biases and discriminatory decision-making, and nurturing a culture where all feel welcomed and valued.      
  • To ensure that this work embeds every aspect of our church life from welcome and hospitality to programming and fellowship, from financial, stewardship, and mission decisions to pastoral care and worship life. In all that we do and in all the ways we represent ourselves, the work of diversity and inclusion will be obvious.
  • To serve as a moral compass and voice for change within our larger community: to provide ethical guidance; to emphasize the values of love, compassion, and justice; to embrace diversity and treat everyone with dignity and respect; to advocate for policies and laws which provide for equal treatment of all people.

The Bible teaches about the reconciliation of humanity with God and with each other. Therefore, BMPC and its leadership have a responsibility to address systemic issues that intersect with inequality and injustice in all aspects of our work and society at large. To ensure that our commitment to promoting belonging and inclusion remains a priority, we must be transparent and establish mechanisms for accountability by regularly evaluating our progress.  

Glory be to God, who created everyone equal in God’s image, to Jesus Christ, who broke down the walls that divide us, and to the Holy Spirit, who encourages us to work together for justice, freedom, and peace. Amen.