We live in a culture that is deeply conflicted about sexuality.
Our religious heritage compels and guides us in creating a safe environment where people can come to understand and respond to the challenges facing them as sexual beings. As faith communities, we promote justice for all people and we affirm the dignity of every individual, the importance of personal responsibility, and the essential interdependence of all peoples.
Sexuality and Our Faith is a series of faith-based companion manuals to the Our Whole Lives curriculum. These companion resources are designed to be integrated into each corresponding workshop of the Our Whole Lives Curriculum when used in United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association or other faith-based settings.
Sexuality and Our Faith puts learning about bodies, families, identity, relationships, and sexuality in the context of worship and our relationship with God and scripture. The goals are to connect faith with identity, relationships, and sexuality issues in ways that lead to informed and healthy decisions, and to empower persons to act responsibly as they seek to unite body and spirit, spirituality and sexuality, alienation and wholeness.
As Christians, we profess that we are created in the image of God. In this image, we make a lifelong journey toward deeper faith, faithfulness, and wholeness. As a church, we seek continually to integrate God's ongoing revelation with new knowledge and understandings of our lives and times. In our religious education, we seek to equip the faithful for this journey in all its possibilities.
As people in the United Church of Christ (UCC), we affirm that sexuality and a spirituality are intricately connected and that both are gifts from God. The actions of our General Synods, conferences, associations, congregations, and councils support this.
The following principles supplement the Our Whole Lives assumptions, goals, and principles, expressing what many in the United Church of Christ believe about faith, spirituality, sexuality, and justice.
Principles Guiding the United Church of Christ Commitment to Sexuality Education
- Sexuality is a God-given gift.
- The purposes of sexuality are to enhance human wholeness and fulfillment, to express love, commitment, delight, and pleasure, to bring new life into the world, and to give glory to God.
- When making decisions about sexuality, the primary guide is God's call to love and justice as revealed in both Testaments.
- From a biblical perspective, sexuality is intended to express mutuality, love, and justice. In judging whether behavior is ethical or unethical, the norms of mutuality, love, and justice are the central criteria.
- From a biblical perspective, sexuality is distorted by unethical behaviors, attitudes, and systems that foster violence, exploitation, infidelity, assertion of power, and the treatment of persons as objects.
- In developing a just sexual morality, we need to avoid double standards and avoid using heterosexual and cisgender people, experiences, and relationships as normative for all people.
- A responsible and mature sexual ethic respects the moral agency of every person. When faced with ethical decisions, each of us needs to be accorded the freedom and responsibility to choose.
- The church, at all levels, ought to be a context for discussion about human sexuality.
- The church ought to encourage and support advocacy with those who society, and even the church itself, have sexually oppressed or made the victims of sexual violence and abuse.
- A Selected Chronology of Sexuality Education in the UCC
- 5 Reasons to Talk about Sex in Church
- Listen to Alive! In Our Sexuality and Faith on Podcast for a Just World
"To offer sexuality education in a congregation is to acknowledge that human sexuality is simply too important too beautiful and too potentially dangerous to be ignored in a religious community." - Rev. Lena Breen, Mt. Vernon, WA