Welcome and Inclusion

Welcome and Inclusion

Mary Cunningham, Chair of Deacons at First Baptist of Asheville, has appointed an ad-hoc team to guide our church’s response to our desired future statement: First Baptist will be a church that welcomes and includes all in a way consistent with God’s love and wisdom. This team was formed in response to the stories our congregation shared during roundtables early in 2018 and our hopes as a congregation as they relate to welcome and inclusion of all. Please note the church by-laws supporting the development of the team and the charge from the chair. Watch for updates as the team guides us through this season of prayer and discernment.


“When the Pastor and the officers of the Deacons conclude that a committee other than one of the Support Committees is needed for a special purpose, the Chairperson of Deacons may, with the advice of the Pastor, appoint members and a Chairperson to serve for the purpose necessary to complete the special task.”

From the By-Laws of the First Baptist Church Statement of Policy, adopted Dec. 13, 2015, p. 15.

Charge to the Committee

1) To help the congregation discern with love our desired future “to welcome and include all in a way consistent with God’s love and wisdom,” and specifically, how God is calling us to welcome and include LGBTQ persons.

2) To plan, implement, and process a series of church-wide discernment sessions that a) invite a culture of learning with LGBTQ people, and b) foster and enable consensus about welcome and inclusion.

3) To craft a consensus statement for the church, based on their conclusions about the discernment sessions, that seeks to express what “seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28).


Welcome and Inclusion Discernment Team Members

Jan Busey, Chair
Mindy Allen
Kelly Belcher
Woody Edney
Bob Gilkeson
Patricia Glazener
Ron Gough
Mark Green
Donna Lewis
Beatty Logan
Chelsea Setzer
Matthew Stacey
Tommy Bratton, ministerial liaison

Sermon from September 30, 2018

“Have a Seat Here, Please”
Dr. Mack Dennis, pastor

For the entire service, click here.