What does “open and affirming” mean? At Wellesley Village Church, we aspire to live out Jesus’ words to love all people, to embrace the meek and the mighty, the weak and the strong, and especially the most vulnerable among us. As an open and affirming congregation, we feel it is particularly important to extend a special welcome to our LGBTQIA+ friends and family who represent the multiplicity of gender identity, expression and love.
We recognize the pain and suffering within the LGBTQIA+ community, often delivered in the name of Christian theology. We believe Jesus lifts up and loves all people, regardless of how we identify and whom we love. Our beloved friends in Christ are also our children, siblings, cousins, parents, and grandparents. They are us – preaching, singing, praying, giving and loving.
Wellesley Village Church and the United Church of Christ, to which we belong, have long espoused welcome and advocated for inclusion in a series of resolutions and synod actions that invite the full participation of LGBTQIA+ people. In 1992, Wellesley Village Church took an official stand as an open and affirming church, one of the first to do so among the United Church of Christ congregations. The following statement was originally written in 1992 and has been updated in 1998 and in 2018 for fuller inclusivity.
“In harmony with the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be an open and affirming church. We welcome and accept all people of any race, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, ethnic origin, physical or mental ability, or sexual orientation. We openly support full participation of everyone in the life and programs of this Church. We affirm the rights of all persons, just as Christ accepted all people he encountered. We believe that in meeting each other in Christian love, God’s spirit frees us all to give, to grow, to be ourselves.”
“You are welcome. And I am welcome. And all are welcome.”