Open & Affirming

What We Did



Beginning in January of 2011, the congregation decided by concensus at our annual meeting to embark on a discernment process of at least one year’s time to pursue becoming an Open and Affirming congregation. Together we picked a “frame” for our discernment process of 

“A HOME FOR ALL.”  Our discernment process would be a time of praying, discussing, studying and worshipping together to best reach our vision of truly being a home for all.  

CELEBRATING GOD'S DIVERSE CREATION





On September  23, 2012, 1st UCC, Royersford held a special worship celebrating the adoption of our Open and Affirming Statement. 


Why We Did This

   

We celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of each expression of God’s diverse family as well as our oneness in Christ. We affirm that each individual is a child of God, and recognize that we are called to be like one body with many members, seeking with others of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender express-ion to journey together toward the promised realm of God. We believe that through our diversity, all can grow and practice a unity of faith that transcends our differences.

   

How We Did This

We consulted each other, our tradition, the bible, other churches, LGBT folks, and scholars on the subject. We carefully studied the “trouble passages” from the Bible, finding perspective that these scriptures themselves emphasize hospitality and healthy expression of our natural diversity. We spoke with members of other churches who went through this process. We worshipped and prayed together, making sure to listen to LGBT voices. And most importantly, we listened to one another, our concerns and our hopes, in a series of one-on-one and congregational conversations, over many months. Then we took a vote which overwhelmingly supported adopting our Open and Affirming statement on July 24, 2012. 




"An Open and Affirming decision is not so much about saying what is right and what is wrong as it is a statement about our Openness."  

                              - Rev. Dwayne Mosier

Why We Did This

Most of the resistance to this process focused not on not wanting to be welcoming, but around the question of why we would need such a statement when we already welcome everyone equally. For answers to this question, we looked to UCC resources:

  • LGBT folk “are so accustomed to being the exception to that stated ‘everyone,’ that they & their loved ones have to overcome a tremendous internal barrier to take a chance on being open to a church. A statement makes that barrier much smaller.” “Because LGBT persons tell us it matters to them–a lot!”
  • “Because while we (inside the church) know we are ONA, those in the community may not – and because the church is for the community, it is critical that the community know here is a place of welcome and inclusion for all.”
  • “Because society, and churches specifically, continue to discriminate against the GLBT community.”
  •  “Why not?!”