Battle Ground — The Battle Ground Community United Methodist Church recently voted to publicly welcome all people — including groups that have sometimes been excluded from churches.The worldwide United Methodist Church is “ambiguous” on issues of sexuality, according to a statement from the Battle Ground church. Local congregations that want to take a stand welcoming sexual minorities often embark on a process of discussing this idea and then voting on it. That process is called “reconciling.”The church has adopted a statement that explicitly mentions past “pain of exclusion or discrimination” and welcomes people of any race, sexual orientation, gender identity, faith history, socioeconomic status, and physical and mental ability. “God welcomes all people, and so do we,” said the Rev. Rachon Hanson. “That’s always been true at this church. What’s changed is that we’re going public with God’s message of welcome.“That doesn’t mean we all agree about everything. It means this church works hard to make sure everyone feels welcomed, respected, and loved,” Hanson said. “It means this is a safe place to explore your relationship with God. It’s safe whether you’re young or old, gay or straight, liberal or conservative, or even if you’re not sure what you believe.”Hanson said all are invited to a celebration at 11:15 a.m., following 10 a.m. worship service, on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 10300 N.E. 199th Street, Battle Ground. Visit www.battlegroundumc.org to learn more.