The First Church “Open & Affirming” Statement
Our denomination, the United Church of Christ, has taken powerful stands in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Many churches in the UCC have “out” ministers, and lesbians and gay men play important leadership roles at FCCB.
In 1995, First Church adopted an Open and Affirming (ONA) Statement. The Open and Affirming movement was developed by the UCC Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns to give congregations a framework for declaring themselves welcoming of the LGBT community. The struggle for inclusion is being fought in many denominations, but not at First Church.
This statement appears in the Order of Worship each Sunday morning:
We, as a diverse body of believers seeking to live in the light and image of God in Christ, do affirm:
that every person has worth as a special and unique creation made in God’s image;
that in the Spirit of love, openness, and inclusiveness we welcome persons of every sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ability and age to participate fully in all aspects of our Church’s life and ministry;
that as agents of reconciliation and wholeness we embrace justice and seek to support all who suffer discrimination or who are disenfranchised from the religious community;
that in light of the Gospel we will continue to comprehend and appreciate more fully our differences and gifts; that through grace our love for God and neighbor may flourish.
On April 19, 2015, the congregation voted to change the third section of the ONA Statement to be more inclusive of the trangender community. The amended statement added the phrases "gender identity" and "gender expression."