We gather in worship as an inclusive community, an Open & Affirming community of faith that transcends any distinctions based on gender, sexual orientation, nationality, race, or religion.
With a formal worship that flows into a living worship of love and support for one another as we pursue ways to reflect God’s reign of mercy, justice, and peace in our community and throughout the world, we continue searching for ways to celebrate the goodness of life together, always reaching out to draw others, with total inclusiveness, into this communal experience.
– St. James UCC Covenant Statement of Faith
“LGBT Christians have learned from painful experience that a vague welcome often doesn’t include them and their families. The words are important.”
The Open and Affirming movement within the United Church of Christ encourages the intentional welcome of our LGBT sisters and brothers into the full life, ministry and sacraments of the church. Becoming an Open and Affirming congregation requires an extended time of prayer, dialogue, study and discernment, a process entered into by St. James in 2003, culminating in the unanimous adoption of our Statement of Faith. We are committed to creating a safe and affirming spiritual home for all people and families.
What’s the difference between welcoming everyone and being “Open and Affirming”?
Many churches say that they welcome everyone. Some will say that they welcome people who are gay or transgender, but what they mean by that is that they welcome LGBT people who wish to change who they are. In other cases, LGBT people may be welcome, but it’s expected that they won’t be too open about who they are.
Being Open and Affirming means more than just accepting LGBT people into the church. It means a commitment to affirming each whole, authentic person as a child of God, made in the image of God.