Open and Affirming
Adopted by First Congregational Church, UCC, Elkhart, IN on 29 July 2018 with a unanimous vote to become an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ.
We affirm that we are created in the image and likeness of God, that we are part of the whole of God’s diverse creation, and that we are interconnected and interdependent with each other and with God’s created order.
We affirm that the diversity with which God created the natural world is evidence that humanity is also created with great diversity, to include all sexual orientations and gender identities, understood and celebrated by the LGBTQIA community.
We affirm that the church, in general, has done great harm to those in the LGBTQIA community, and that the harm was meant to disparage, dehumanize, and defraud those in the LGBTQIA from their rightful seat at God’s table.
We affirm that it is our collective responsibility to embrace God’s diversity of creation and to participate in God’s redemptive work of the church as it claims a new path toward inclusion of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. We denounce messages of hate, shame, division, and self-deprecation. There is no place in God’s kingdom for this kind of speech, inside or outside the church. We are called to love one another as God has loved us, and to embrace one another just as Jesus embraced his disciples.
We also denounce all programs or therapies that would deny the personhood of LGBTQIA individuals, and that seek to change, alter, or “fix” their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, and categorically state that God’s intention for all of humanity is to live authentically as determined by one’s individual relationship with God.
Therefore, our covenant: to live together in God’s kingdom, embraced by God’s love, cherished by our fellow sojourners, consecrated in holiness, and entwined by our diversity to grow and be transformed into bearers of light and compassion in a hurting world. To embrace our LGBTQIA siblings with joy and thanksgiving as they contribute to the full life of the church, from pew to pulpit, inside and outside the walls of our church.