Open and Affirming
Open and Affirming is a journey of building inclusive churches and other ministry settings that welcome the full participation of LGBT people in the UCC’s life and ministry. Since the 70′s the UCC has been advocating for gay rights; in 2005 it became the first denomination in America to endorse marriage equality.
Westminster, also, has been a leader in the Spokane area for LGBT inclusion in the life of the church. Here’s our Open & Affirming Statement, which was voted and passed by the congregation in January, 2007:
Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ publicly declares that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are welcome in the full life and ministry of our congregation. We affirm human sexuality as a good gift of God, and that a persons’ sexual orientation – whether gay, bisexual, or heterosexual – is no barrier to God’s love or full participation in Christ’s church. Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ embraces a spirit of hospitality founded in the gospels of Jesus Christ and a willingness to live out that welcome in meaningful ways.
*As an Open and Affirming Church, our longstanding culture of welcome extends to all people regardless of sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, gender, physical ability, socioeconomic status or faith background.
* Examples of “living out the welcome in meaningful ways” would be:
Our clergy would perform weddings with the blessing of Christ’s church for same-gender couples.
We will recognize families that are parented by same-gender couples and will baptize their children.
Same-gender couples will be offered the same sacraments, support, and nurturing as all other couples in the church when faced with hardship or loss of one of the partners.
Employment opportunities at the church will be offered to all who are called or hired, without regard to their sexual orientation. We will publicly identify our church as an Open and Affirming church in appropriate ways.
We take this statement quite seriously. Here’s a few of the things we’ve been involved with this past year: