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“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. […] There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear […] We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4: 16 & 18–19)

Love is the only response, or as I like to put it sometimes, being fully inclusive is the only response. You can’t be only partly inclusive. So, as a school community, what does being totally inclusive look like? It means welcoming people of all races and cultures, sexual orientation, religious backgrounds, and saying, “You have a place here, you are welcome, and we value you.” That’s the only response that will work in the long term, and we have to keep saying it.

You might think, “Well, sure, Father Theo, but what can I do?” You can do a lot, actually, in the way you interact with your work colleagues and other people that you meet. We all need to say, “We are an inclusive community.” We need to say it confidently, without exception and without fear, because perfect love casts out fear.

In the often-fractured world that we live in, radical love (radical inclusivity) is the gift we can bring as a contribution to the healing that is needed. Of course, the real challenge will come when others criticise you for being inclusive. Sometimes they will.

And yet … you may not find out until years later (if ever) the positive impact of your radical inclusivity. I found out only recently, that one of the students from a few years ago was very grateful for what I had said about being inclusive of those who have a different sexual orientation. I still don’t know who he was, but he was really grateful that I’d made a public statement about inclusivity, because he was really struggling with his identity at the time, particularly in the context of an all-boys’ school.

May each of us have the courage to be radically inclusive, an inclusivity which has at its source the all-embracing love of God.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain