Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ)
Same Gender Loving (SGL)
Whoever you are
Wherever you are on life’s journey
You are welcome here!
In 2022 we are
Celebrating the 50th Anniversaries of the
Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ
Ordination of William R. Johnson
(the 1st openly gay man to be ordained by a predominantly heterosexual denomination in the U.S.)
Connect with us on Facebook: UCC LGBTQ Ministries
Thursday, June 23
About the UCC’s LGBTQ+ Ministries
The message of love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. Open and Affirming (ONA) ministries and resources are rooted in that Gospel message. The testimonies of these ministries proclaim the truth of God’s power to transform cultures of hate and violence into communities of healing and reconciliation. They give witness to God’s continuing testament and how the gifts of God are being liberated for service in the world.
The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBTQ people did so in 1969. The Council for Christian Social Action, a predecessor body to Justice and Witness Ministries adopted the “Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law.” In 1972, the UCC ordained the first openly gay person into ministry, the Rev. William R. Johnson. In 1985, the UCC’s General Synod declared itself to be “open and affirming” and called upon all settings of the church to become similarly poised to welcome LGBTQ persons as full members of the church. Click here for a timeline.
Although not everyone in the UCC is of the same mind concerning human sexuality*, the Open and Affirming (ONA) movement for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons continues to spread throughout all aspects of our denomination’s life and witness. There are now more than 1,700 ONA churches and increasingly, the values that shape the ministry and witness of UCC as we live out the UCC mission to love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all.
Open and Affirming (ONA)
Open and Affirming is a journey of building inclusive churches and other ministry settings that welcome the participation of LGBTQ+ people in their full life and ministry. Congregations and other expressions of the church are encouraged to engage in the ONA process. A toolkit, training, educational resources, consultation and technical assistance are available to help you assess where you are on the journey and design a process to fit the life and culture of your congregation or organization.
- LGBTQ+ Social Policy Statements
- DVD Bi-sex’u-al and A Position of Faith
- Bullying information and resources
- Marriage Equality
- Call Me Malcom
- Find an Open and Affirming UCC church
Please note: Many UCC congregations which may not have adopted an ONA covenant for various reasons are nevertheless welcoming and safe communities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians. It is always recommended to connect with a pastor or other church leadership to explore the welcome and inclusion they seek to extend.
A Note on UCC Polity:
The LGBTQ ministries of the national setting of the UCC is guided by a significant body of resolutions adopted by the General Synod of the UCC, the representative governance body of the national setting. In the UCC, the local church is the basic unit of mission and it has autonomy to determine its own mission as it discerns God’s call. In other words, the UCC is not organized in a hierarchical way and the actions of the General Synod are not binding on UCC local churches or other UCC settings. It is our commitment to be in covenantal relationship with each other that binds us together as a denomination, however, this means there is some diversity among UCC members, local churches, and other settings regarding “Open and Affirming,” sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.