Open & Affirming
On Nov. 8, 2015, the congregation of St. John United Church of Christ voted overwhelmingly to become the latest church in the United Church of Christ to declare itself an official "open and affirming" body, which means St. John is welcoming to all persons on life's journey, regardless of who they are, but specifically those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender children of God. Below you will find a copy of the affirming resolution and a message of thanks and encouragement from the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, president and general minister of the United Church of Christ home office in Cleveland.
RESOLUTION TO BECOME AN OPEN AND AFFIRMING CONGREGATIONThe disciples of St. John United Church of Christ, Fairview Heights, IL., believe that all people, without exception, are created in Gods image and are blessed and loved equally by God. Because the disciples of St. John United Church of Christ wish to express the inclusive embrace of Jesus Christ for all people, therefore:
BE IT RESOLVED that St. John United Church of Christ wishes to be identified as an open and affirming congregation within the definition of the national United Church of Christ, such identification to include, but not be limited to, recognition that St John:
- Is a safe space for open and honest conversation about human sexuality and gender identity;
- Encourages and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members to serve in lay and ordained leadership;
- Offerings weddings and other blessing ceremonies, such as baptisms, funerals and anniversaries to LBGT couples;
- Is willing to host meetings of various gay support groups;
- In its literature and other promotion of the church states that it is a safe place for LBGT people, and especially questioning youth;
- Is an advocate for marriage equality and affiliated civil rights issues;
- Annually renews its open & affirming covenant in a demonstrable way.