Open and Affirming
We're an Open and Affirming congregation
In 1985, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ called on congregations and other settings of the UCC to declare themselves "Open and Affirming" by publicly and specifically declaring that they fully welcome and include members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community into the full life and leadership of their congregations. The definition of Open and Affirming was eventually expanded to include people who are transgender. The UCC Open and Affirming Coalition maintains an official listing of Open and Affirming congregations and settings, and it also offers workshops and trainings to churches interested in fully welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions.
We, the people of St. James United Church of Christ, have always considered ourselves to be a friendly and welcoming congregation, and we continually have become even more inclusive over the years. So, we considered it natural that we would evolve by declaring ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation.
Not only did we want to proclaim our welcome to the LGBT community, but we also wanted to make it known that anyone who historically may have felt unwelcome or marginalized by the church (and those who may feel unsure) are indeed welcome at St. James UCC. For example, our Open and Affirming statement specifically mentions people who struggle with addiction, are recovering from trauma, and come from differing family structures. In other words, we want YOU to know that...
No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here.
Welcome to St. James United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming congregation
We embrace all who seek to grow together in a community of faith which recognizes God's unconditional love and acceptance. The members of St. James UCC proudly affirm the beauty and uniqueness of all God's children. We rejoice that, in the midst of the diversity of God's creation, we are all one in Christ Jesus.
In this spirit, we welcome and celebrate people of all:
Faith experiences, whether you have never stepped foot in a church before, only come to celebrate the holidays, or are wrestling with doubt,
Sexual orientations and gender expressions,
Races, ethnicities, and cultures,
Physical, mental, and social abilities,
Educational backgrounds and political viewpoints,
Financial situations and social statuses,
Ages, from infants to elders and everyone in between, and
Life experiences, whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, recovering from trauma, or have ever felt the pain of exclusion.
We strive to "welcome others as Christ welcomes us" (Romans 15:7), so that we can be a true expression of God's love in this world. We accept you for who you are and invite you to share in the worship, baptism, communion, leadership, membership, ministry, mission, hardship, fellowship, and joy of our faith family.