We, the community of First Congregational United Church of Christ, are a diverse group of people; we are persons of different ages, races, and sexual orientations who have come from varying social, economic, political, and religious back- grounds. We celebrate our diversity even as we acknowledge and affirm our unity in the presence of God. The differences among us are to be understood in the context of a tradition of inclusiveness. The Apostle Paul declared this truth when he spoke of the Christian response to significant categorizations of society in his time:
There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28
We come to this church community with all the complexities of our individual situations. Among the goals of our ministry to each other is the desire to heal the brokenness we experience in ourselves and our relationships with each other and with God. Our congregation’s history shows our desire to heal such brokenness; the church’s decisions to be a racially integrated community (1865), to stay in the inner city (1956), and to enter into covenant with the Metropolitan Community Church (1973) exemplify our desire to be open and inclusive. We realize our intentions to be inclusive cannot be fulfilled by pointing to our history. Rather, we must act, and continue to act, if healing is to occur.
Within this context, recognizing that sexual orientation can be a barrier in our society but should not be a part of the brokenness among us, we therefore confirm our church as an Open and Affirming church with respect to sexual orientation.
With faith in and the help of God, we lift up the following as evidence of our openness and affirmation:
- We are open to all sexual orientations in our church’s celebrations and sacraments.
- We encourage involvement by persons of all sexual orientations in the ministry and teaching of the church.
- We are open to all sexual orientations in our employment.
- We support education for all ages about sexual orientation as part of the broad spectrum of human sexuality.
- We commit ourselves as advocates for persons of all sexual orientations, so that our openness may be affirmed externally as well as internally.