Working For Inclusion: Pastor Seth and Hannah

Creative and Teaching Pastor Seth McCoy and Hannah, a younger adult congregant, both expressed how important they feel working towards love and inclusion is, but also how challenging that process can be.

Hannah describes how growing up, the Christian environment she was in emphasized a more literal interpretation of the Bible that she felt “wasn’t Jesus-focused.” Woodland Hills is distinctly different from this for her, and she says, “I think probably the thing that has become most real to me is identifying with people that don’t adhere to that religious perspective. [Growing up] the connection was totally not there for people who were different or people who thought differently or were making lifestyle choices that were different. That was really hurtful in my sensibility of what religion should look like.&rdquo1

Pastor McCoy similarly describes an area in which he is working for improvement. He says, “Building and keeping strong relationships with people who aren’t Christians is something that’s challenging for pastors to do. That’s an area that I feel like God’s really working on me in. I don’t want to just challenge people in our congregation to reach out to unchurched people, but I want to, personally.” He adds that this is a struggle the whole congregation is also constantly being challenged by and working towards:

“I think working for nonviolence and choosing love over judgement is something that our congregation is super inspired by those concepts and struggles like every other person does to put them into practice. Judging comes so naturally to me that even though theologically I say that I choose love over judgement, on Monday do I actually choose it?”2

  1. Hannah, interveiw by Lillie Schneyer, May 15, 2016

  1. Seth McCoy, Interviewed by Lillie Schneyer, May 8, 2016.