open and affirming
PART OF THE WHOLE
Bethany is an “Open and Affirming” congregation of the UCC. That means our congregation has publicly and officially declared that LGBTQ+ people are part of and welcome in our full life and ministry at every level of participation, membership, and leadership. We are proudly and intentionally inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions.
Too many LGBTQ+ people and their families live with the pain of having believed that "everyone" meant them, only to discover otherwise. No one should have to guess about the boundaries of inclusion of a congregation or other ministry. A clear welcome matters to LGBTQ+ adults who, seeking to share their faith and gifts with the church, often wonder if they will meet with silence or condemnation if they are "out" in church. It matters to LGBTQ+ youth who need the guidance of faith communities as they question and establish their understandings of sexuality, spirituality, and relationships, but fear the same disapproval. It matters to families which too often hide the fact that they have LGBTQ+ children or other relatives. Fearing the indifference or rejection of their church, they are cut off from support and sharing which would enrich them and their congregation. It matters to LGBTQ+ clergy who often feel that to serve the church they must hide their true selves and lives. It matters to all Christians who believe that God's affirmation of the gifts of loving relationships and sexuality are not restricted to those who are heterosexual, and who look to their church to witness to God's inclusive love and help them to better understand and live it.
For more information on Open and Affirming in the UCC, click here to visit the FAQ on ONA section of the UCC website.