Open & Affirming is a message of welcome, affirmation, and inclusivity for those who themselves or have family members who identify with LGTBQIA+
Historically, the United Church of Christ helped to lead the way for inclusion with the ordination of the first openly gay pastor and with marriage equality. While the denomination is clearly inclusive and affirming, due to the free nature of our denomination, not every congregation was as accomodating; thus arose a designation called Open & Affirming, where a congregation is intentional about welcoming and affirming LGTBQIA+ individuals. Below you will see the intentional vote of this congregation to embrace and affirm.
While First Congregational UCC is now Open & Affirming, because our members are free to think independently, which means not everyone thinks alike; we are still learning what it means to be Open & Affirming and how better to be God's inclusive community.
This has led us to:
Working on the language of worship to be inclusive of pronouns as well as ethnicities, skin tones, etc.
be you, with us art installation, see be-you-with-us
Sam (pronouns she, he, them), a sheep footstool used with Children's Messages
Affirmation that we will marry couples who identify with LGTBQIA (to learn more about wedding practices, see Weddings)
On Sunday morning, September 20, 2020, our congregation voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation in the United Church of Christ. The congregation adopted the following Welcoming Covenant Statement:
We, the Members of First Congregational Church, in the spirit of our commitment to honor all persons, declare ourselves to be a welcoming, Open and Affirming church. Following the teachings of Christ to love one another and with God’s grace, we seek to be a faith community that invites into its midst all persons regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, family structure, marital status, economic abilities and conditions, as well as mental, emotional and physical capacities. We welcome all to fully share in the life and leadership, ministry and fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of participation in our congregation. This means that you are welcome, no matter who you are, no matter where you are on the journey of life, for each one of you is a beloved child of God, and this household of God was not complete until you arrived.