Jump directly to the Content

(Some) Sinners Welcome

Can a church embrace those on the margins without excluding its core?

This week the New York Times ran a story about a controversy dividing a church in Carlsbad, California. Outside Pilgrim United Church of Christ hangs a banner that reads "All are welcome." Now that claim is being tested.

In January, a 53 year old attender at the church, Mark Pliska, informed the congregation that he had been convicted in the past for molesting children. The leaders and members of Pilgrim United Church of Christ now face a dilemma. Can the church be inclusive, even to convicted child molesters, and still be a safe environment for children and adults healing from past sexual abuse?

The pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Rev. Madison Shockley, finds himself caught between two factions in the congregation. The Times reports:

Before introducing Mr. Pliska to the congregation, Mr. Shockley spoke to a few congregants who had been abused as children and to parents, and none objected to Mr. Pliska's inclusion.
But Mr. Pliska's introduction unlocked a flood of emotions among ...
May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
GOING TO YOUR LEFT
GOING TO YOUR LEFT
Pastoral ministry demands more than playing to your strengths.
From the Magazine
The Secret Sin of ‘Mommy Juice’
The Secret Sin of ‘Mommy Juice’
Alcoholism among women is rising. Can the church help?
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close