Acceptance at St. James Catholic Church

My family has attended and been active in a wonderful and vibrant church in south KC ever since we moved here in 1980. However, we have been blessed to visit many other churches of all denominations and synagogues over the years for Saturday or Sunday services or to attend weddings, funerals or Bar Mitzvahs. Kansas City has a rich faith tradition with many well known and respected priests, preachers and Rabbis.

Last Sunday my wife, daughter and I attend St. James Catholic Church located at 39th Street and Troost in KC. It was an amazing experience. I could describe what I experienced in one word – acceptance.

As you looked around this old church – you saw flags from 27 countries which represent the home country of the parishioners. You saw well known business and community leaders, homeless people, people who have lived in KC their entire life and those who just arrive in town recently from some other state or country. You saw African Americans, Caucasians, Latinos gays, lesbians and straight people. You heard lots of languages and dialects; people dressed in coats/ties and folks who may not have been allowed in other churches because of how they were dressed.

Even though I had never visited this church before, I was fortunate to know many folks who regularly worship there. But that didn’t’ matter…because as soon as we arrived at the church everyone became your friend and I have never felt so welcomed. So often houses of worship become places where people judge you for what you believe or wear or say. Sometimes places of worship become havens for discrimination against people of color, people who don’t’ speak English, people who are gay and lesbians and people who challenge the status quo.

St. James was different and everyone who attended this amazing church seemed to feel the same way I felt…ACCEPTED! My wish is that the spirit of St. James faith community would fill our region – we need more acceptance and understanding of each other. Living in our own silos where everyone looks like us and thinks like us is not helpful to our democracy or to the health of our community!


What I really appreciate about Christianity is the hate the sin, love the sinner approach. This runs the full gambit from active homosexuals to dishonest corporate executives.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Steve. Acceptance is sometimes something that the people we serve have never felt. I am glad you didn't take the simple feeling of acceptance for granted. We all should take a breath and realize how wonderful it is to be accepted--no matter who we are, and try to live our lives, especially those of us who are service providers, as those who accept and embrace every person, regardless of any potential, so-called difference. It is striking to me that feeling that level of acceptance at a church is a rare occurrence--I feel like one of Christianity's main teachings from Jesus is to accept and love your brother as yourself. Why has that become the exception, rather than the rule? I am glad there is a church out there, in the inner-city of Kansas City, that is modeling this great teaching.

I have friends who are members of St. James, and I hear nothing but the highest praise for that faith community. I remember playing parochial league basketball at St. James in my youth, and it was a rock-solid parish then. I felt the same acceptance you describe when attending a wedding at St. James several months ago. All that you write verifies all that have experienced: St. James was and remains both an anchor and a beacon for midtown Kansas City.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6><img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.

About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.