Open and Affirming
We are an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, and those of any race, socio-economic status, ethnic background, age, nationality, marital status or physical or mental ability into the full life and ministry of the church. We are a Just Peace church, committed to peaceful and just relations in all areas of our society and our world. We are an Earth Covenant Congregation, committing ourselves with integrity to care for God’s Creation. We are a congregation committed to pro-active anti-racism—seeking with God’s help to be a force for the elimination of racism and white privilege.
Some will say that we have no business taking the inclusive ministry of Jesusʹ gospel into the world; no business laying hands on strangers, no business offering communion to anyone outside the walls of a church, no business offering the message and means of good physical health to those who need it, no business laying a hand on a body to help begin to heal a soul that has been wounded by those wielding the word of Jesus as a cutting sword, no business taking it to the world. I am always flabbergasted when I hear any one or all such remarks from any Christian. However, on May 2, 2015, First Congregational Church UCC Amherst just took care of all that business. I am so thankful to be a part of this body, all its hands, feet, arms, legs, heads and hearts, and so thankful for those who determined to show exactly what Open aNd Affirming really means. Iʹm thankful for Katie, Brendan, Ginny, Bill and Russ for marching with our big loud banner; for Mel for taking amazing pictures of our ministry; for Bob, Daisy, Gail, CaroleAnn, Savanna and the marchers who gathered around the table to hand out tokens of our ONA ministry to rallyers; for Bill for laying on hands; for Mel for instructing us on safe health practices (that many of us old folk were not aware of, glory be!); and to this church for continuing to fund this ministry that allows us to place ads in the program and purchase space for this ministry year after year. I am really just so full. YES, I want more of us to participate openly, hands and feet on. But I am just so thankful, right now, for those of us who did. Thank you so much.
in love, ivy tillman ONA Ministry Team
For further information on the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC open and affirming policy, we refer you to the MACUCC LGBT site.