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JUNEAU - Aldersgate United Methodist Church has been recognized by United Methodist Communications as an official "Welcoming Congregation."
"Welcoming Congregations" are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meets criteria including embracing newcomers. The recognition program is part of a larger effort launched in late 2000 by UMCom, the denomination's communications agency, to use modern technology and common language to spread the Good News of Christ to a world in need.
"When we sing or say 'Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors,' we really are saying 'Everyone is welcome.' We're a diverse group of people for a small spiritual community. We agree to disagree and aim to do all in the love exemplified by Jesus. We've had this value of radical hospitality, now we received this award because we have begun working intentionally on letting the community know it," said pastor Rev. Judy Shook.
For the past 8 years, "Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors" has been the theme of the denomination supported with a series of national cable TV advertisements, supplemented by regional and local church participation. The overall aim of the effort was to invite people to enter into connection with the Christian community as they seek meaning and purpose in their lives. The new campaign, Rethink Church, seeks to invite churches to think of the motto as a verb, not just an adjective as in: "Together we can ... open hearts, open minds and open doors."