Ambiguity is harmful. Clarity is reasonable.
That is the slogan for Church Clarity, a “crowd-sourced database of local congregations [scored] based on how clearly they communicate their actively enforced policies.”
You might be thinking, “Scoring churches?! That sounds odd!” But as a marketing professional, believe me – it's already been happening on platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Google, and more with little to no interaction between the congregation and those who score it publicly. Unlike these social platforms, Church Clarity has standardized the criteria by which any congregation can be scored. In other words, it’s considerably more balanced and ensures a fair assessment of the congregation.
Church Clarity primarily focuses on measuring a congregation’s* official gender and Queer/LGBTQIA2S+ inclusion positions.
*Notice I am using the term congregation as opposed to denomination. Church Clarity does not score denominationally. Instead, they focus on local expressions of the church at the congregational level in order to see how policies are carried out in the real world.
The mission of Church Clarity is “to increase the standard of clarity throughout the Church Industry.” One point of clarification: the organization explicitly states that it is not “advocating for policy changes; [they] are standardizing church policy disclosure, whatever the policy or type of church in question. People deserve to know the truth.” The purpose of such a database ensures questions such as these are answered:
Without clarity, “answers to these questions often remain elusive,” says a statement on Church Clarity’s website. “Ambiguity enables those with power to operate without accountability and cause real harm. Many people invest years of their lives into a church community, only to later discover the truth about the church’s policies, and end up feeling betrayed, deceived and ‘bait-and-switched.’”
When I stumbled upon Church Clarity’s website about a year ago, I was immediately a fan of the standardized method they utilize. It isn’t about changing policies; rather, it is about naming those policies here and now and being transparent. From least clear to most clear, here are Church Clarity’s definitions for LGBTQ Policies:
From least clear to most clear, here are Church Clarity’s definitions for Women in Leadership Policies:
To read more about these definitions, click here.
The Calgary Congregation was recently rated as "Verified Clear" for our LGBTQ & Women in Leadership Policies. This means we are not only fully affirming & egalitarian, but also completely transparent about our stances.
As our denomination has chosen to address the issue of same-sex marriage and Queer/LGBTQIA2S+ ordination on a country by country basis, it is important that congregations in those areas that have voted to become affirming (Australia, British Isles, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, USA) be clear and intentional with their messaging to ensure they are fairly representing themselves to the public. We will never know the trauma, pain, or frustration someone may have experienced at another church before entering our doors. The last thing we should do is be ambiguous about our official positions. It causes confusion and can be triggering for many (both within our community as well as potential visitors).
Let’s work together to improve our clarity and authenticity online. To learn more about the process, feel free to contact Parker Johnson. View the Calgary Congregation's profile on Church Clarity's website here.
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