Focus Scripture Galatians 3:26-29 Common English Bible (CEB)You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.
10 years ago, UCUC voted to officially become an Open and Affirming Congregation in the United Church of Christ. As such, our church created the following O&A Statement: Inspired by the example set by Jesus Christ, we, the University City United Church, United Church of Christ, declare ourselves Open and Affirming. As an Open and Affirming congregation, University City United Church welcomes people of every faith background, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, nationality, military status, family structure, marital status, age, economic circumstance, and physical or mental ability. Our communion table is open to all. We offer a safe and spiritual home where relationships based on love and respect may flourish. We invite everyone to participate fully in the life of our church which includes not only worship but also membership, leadership and employment. In making these affirmations, we celebrate the richness of diversity, together seeking to live as a family of God.
UCUC joins more than 1,500 other United Church of Christ congregations that have publicly made the declaration to be Open and Affirming. Over the years, the understanding of what this means have evolved. At first it just had to do with sexual orientation – who someone is attracted to. More recently, we’ve been expanding our understanding of O&A to also include welcoming transgender (those who identify with a gender other than that with which they were born) as well as cisgender (those who identify with the gender of their birth) folks.
UCUC is continuing to learn and grow into our O&A identity as it takes seriously the scripture from Galations: ALL are God’s children!
This week, watch this video and celebrate being part of an Open and Affirming church!
PrayCreator of Us All, Holy One of Many Names, Eternal Love,
We wonder at the care and joy manifest in your design and creation.
You created the sliver of the waning crescent moon,
a slender thread of courageous light;
You created the tenacity of each blade of grass that
muscles aside concrete to reach for sky;
You created the birds that soar and creatures of the ocean depths
who somehow thrive where it is too dark and too cold for life.
You look at all you have created and call it good.
We are amazed that, in ways beyond our understanding,
you formed humanity with the same joy and care that birthed the rest of creation.
We rejoice that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made in your Divine image.
On this Open and Affirming Sunday, we proclaim who we are.
We are gay, we are straight, we are lesbian, we are bisexual,
we are transgender, we are cis-gender, we are gender-fluid.
We have many names and labels for what we are,
but we know that you call us by one name – beloved.
Let us say it over and over and over again until we believe it.
We are beloved. We are beloved. We are indeed beloved.
We acknowledge that for many of your beloved children, especially those who are LGBTQ,
church communities have been places of shame and suffering, rather than homes
of sanctuary and safety. Help us to pick up the mantle of those who have gone before us in
this liberation movement, that their hard work and their sacrifice might not be in vain.
We are, all of us, called by love, for the sake of love, to be love
in this faith community and in all the world.
Continue to create us to be your beloved people. Amen.
The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the UCC, and equips UCC congregations to become effective witnesses to Christ’s extravagant welcome. ONA is now the largest and fastest-growing LGBT-welcoming movement in the Body of Christ. We welcomed ONA church #1 in 1986 and church #1,500 in 2018. To find out more, visit openandaffirming.org.
Mission Moments tells stories of how United Chruch of Christ congregations are connected to the wider church. It is published by the United Church of Christ.