a safe place for the stranger within our gates


How might your spiritual community, congregation, or religious organization make

the statement below a part of your corporate practice of spiritual hospitality?


While traveling to St. Louis in the Spring of 2013, I stayed at a hotel in which I found a statement in the desk drawer. It has to deal with welcoming the stranger - something hotels do all the time, especially paying strangers. I liked the saying so much that I re-wrote it for our use in the church. I do hope it expresses what we are about as we welcome others as full participants in our Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church family....


Before the church can flex its counter cultural, speak truth to power, Jesus-talk-and-walk-and-act philosophy, it  must create that safe space where all can be loved for who and Whose they are. Once loved nothing is impossible.


It is from safe space and immersion in God's love that social justice is sprouted and grows to right the wrongs of the world. And each time we go back to the church, our other home, for rest and refreshment we are empowered to be God's disciples and God's Disciples of Christ for the sake of the world.


Safely and lovingly yours,

Ron Degges

In ancient times there was a prayer for

                                    “The Stranger within our gates.”

Because this church is a divine institution

        created by God to serve people, 

                we hope that God will grant you peace and rest

                     while you are under its roof.

May this sanctuary and church be your home away from home.

May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams.

Even though we may not get to know everything about you,

        we hope that you will be comfortable and happy

                as if you were in your own house.

May the search that brought you our way prosper you

        in ways you would never have expected.

May every call you make and every message you receive

        add to your joy.

When you leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers.

From birth till death we travel between the eternities.

May these days in church be pleasant for you,

        profitable for society,

                helpful for those strangers you meet along the way,

                        and a joy to those who know and love you best.

And may God be with you until we meet again.

            -paraphrase by The Rev. Ronald Degges, ©2013,

                                                former President of Disciples Home Missions

                                                            in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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