Open and Affirming Statement
For the First Congregational Church, UCC
Of Pelham, New Hampshire
Adopted by Congregational Vote on
October 18, 1998
As an Open and Affirming Congregation (ONA), we welcome and accept all people of any race, gender, nationality, ethnic origin, physical or mental ability, or sexual orientation. We aim to embody Christ’s extravagant welcome to those he encountered and we openly support full participation of everyone in the life and programs of the congregation “The first [commandment] is……..’you shall love the Lord our God with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater then these.” (Mark12:29-31)Accepting this as the supreme commandment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we, The First Congregational Church, UCC of Pelham, NH, open our doors and ministry to all, affirming and honoring the dignity and worth of each person. We believe, that “we are one body in Christ, and when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
Thus, it is our responsibility and calling to extend our compassion to all those who suffer for whatever reason, including social injustice. We hope for the day when all of God’s people will be honored and rejoice together. We believe we are a part of the community known as the Body of Christ by the virtue of God’s grace, and welcome all those who wish to be a part of that community. We celebrate the uniqueness of each person who feels called to be a part of our church, and look forward to the gifts they bring to us. We celebrate human relationships that are based on love, responsibility, mutual respect, trust and fidelity. In that context, we understand and affirm that an Open and Affirming Church Welcomes and supports all people equally, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation (meaning: gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual), nationality, ethnicity, marital status, previous religious affiliation, economic status or physical or mental handicap. In accordance with the proceeding and with the help of God, we hereby declare that First Congregational Church, UCC of Pelham is an Open and Affirming Church.
Knowing that this commitment poses a spiritual challenge, we promise to gently encourage each other in our struggle to understand and accept this challenge to pray for the strength to dispel ignorance, fear and hatred. We also pray for the strength to turn toward loving and away from judging, since only God is capable of pure impartiality.
Read more about the national Open and Affirming movement