Statement on LGBTQ+ Inclusion
Approved October 2001; Revisions Approved November 14, 2022
At this point in our life together, we seek a fuller statement of our inclusiveness. We are a Church that believes in the worth of every person as the good creation of God, and we are a Church committed to justice and peace in the civic realm. As such, we want to state our full welcome to and affirmation of all who wish to join us on our journey of faith as outlined in our Covenant. “Open to all and closed to none” means we welcome and affirm all persons without regard to race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or attraction, biological sex, age, economic status, physical or mental capacity. We believe that God’s call, gifts, and blessings are given to all God’s people, and we embrace the Spirit of God that calls, gifts, and blesses.
Recommended by the Steering Committee for All Church Dialogue on Gay and Lesbian Inclusion
Statement Affirming Free Pulpit and Free Pew
Approved December 11, 2017
Freedom of faith expression is a founding principle of Myers Park Baptist Church that is rooted in our Baptist faith tradition. The ministers and congregation are free from control by any higher Church authority. Our Church exists as an independent, autonomous, and self-governing democratic body.
In our tradition, ministers have the freedom to speak the truth based on their interpretation of the Scripture, both from the pulpit and in the community. We value and protect this freedom of the pulpit because we believe it encourages us to consider the mind of Christ in our everyday lives.
At the same time, the congregation has a reciprocal freedom to interpret the Scripture on our own behalf. In our Covenant, we affirm that “We will be open to all new light, strengthened by God and each other in our faith. We will sustain a critical examination of Scripture, belief and ritual as interpreters of God’s active presence in the world.”
Every member of the congregation is free to question or disagree with anything that is taught, spoken, or preached by our ministers. At the same time, both ministers and members are joined together, not by any dogma or doctrine, but instead by our Covenant and by our affection for each other.
This arrangement, though not always comfortable, allows us to freely and openly exchange ideas as a pathway to discovering “our freedom to become new creatures and our responsibility to be faithful stewards of our lives and of this world.” When done faithfully and in a loving spirit, freedom of the pulpit and pew can lead us closer to God and God’s truths.
Submitted on April 30. 2017 by the Deacon Task Force on the Free Pulpit: Ann Hester, Charles Johnson, MaryAnn Largen, Becky Rizzo, Chris William, Dan White (Chair)
Statement on Racism Toward African Americans
Approved January 2019
Racism against African-Americans still permeates our systems, institutions, and churches. This racism continues systemic oppression that was instituted with slavery and was reiterated in the Jim Crow era. Today, this racism takes shape through mass incarceration, economic and social exclusion, and lack of access to education, healthcare, housing, and employment. As people of faith, we will work to educate on white privilege, to dismantle racism, and to denounce white supremacy in every iteration, until all people, regardless of race, are fully affirmed, welcomed, and included in the social and economic fabric of our society.
Recommended by the Faith & Justice SLG, the Strategic Planning Council, and the Board of Deacons
Statement on Immigration
Approved October 2020
As a community of faith, we believe that when one individual or group suffers rejection and abuse, the whole body suffers. Therefore, we acknowledge the deep individual and systemic wounds that result from any unjust immigration system. Our sacred scriptures call us to love the foreigner, seek justice for the immigrant, and welcome the stranger with hospitality. For instance, Leviticus 19 states, “When an immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant. The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself.” As people on a journey–and of a faith shaped by people in exile–we are called to love those who are also journeying as God has loved us.
We acknowledge that our nation’s immigration policies (regardless of political party) have often been discriminatory; prioritizing the acceptance of foreigners from European countries. We lament the role of racism and cultural dominance in shaping immigration policy, which has made people from Africa, Asia, Southern Europe, and South and Central America feel less welcome if not effectively barred from coming here legally. We grieve the ways partisan political agendas arouse suspicion and distrust of foreigners by scapegoating immigrants in order to incite fear and hatred in our society. We believe violence, cruelty, and mistreatment of refugees is always an immoral response to the humanitarian crisis taking place on and within our borders.
As a continued expression of bold and boundless hospitality, we will engage in education and advocacy, support immigration reform, help provide a more humane and empathetic way to stand alongside all immigrants with love, affirmation, resources, and support.
 Other scriptures used for reference, see Lev. 19:33-34; 24:22; Deut. 10:17-19; 24:14-18; Jer. 7:5-7; 22:3-5; Matt. 25:34-40; Rom. 12:13).