Welcome Statement (adopted January 8, 2017)
Who is welcome here?
If you are Asian, Hispanic, Black or White…..
If you are male or female or transgender…..
If you are three days old, 30 years old, or 103 years old…..
If you’ve never stepped foot in a church; or if you are Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic or are a life-long Christian…..
If you are single, married, divorced, separated, or partnered…..
If you are straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual…..
If you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or not registered to vote…..
If you are an immigrant, a refugee, or lived here your entire life…..
If you have, or had, addictions, phobias, abortions, or a criminal record…..
If you have tattoos, piercings, or purple hair…..
If you own your home, rent, live with your parents, or are homeless…..
If you are fully-abled, disabled, or a person of differing abilities…..
YOU are welcome here!
This congregation is committed to being a radically loving and Welcoming community of faith, centered in the Good News of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in faithfulness to the Gospel and our heritage, and to the best of our ability, we promise to provide programs, ministries, and pastoral care to ALL who seek God in this place.
(adapted from the Prince of Peace Lutheran, Philadelphia, PA)
Black Forest Community Church, United Church of Christ, stands as a light in the forest. We, in the spirit of Jesus’ great commandments to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34), and Paul’s teaching of acceptance of one another (Romans 14:1-15: 13), feel called to welcome, affirm, and support all persons of every race, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, economic status, nationality, sexual orientation or identity into the full life and ministry of this community of faith, including membership and leadership. We welcome and embrace the God-given gifts that each person brings to the life of our congregation, regardless of where they are in their faith journey. Our goal is to become a more welcoming church.
As an Open and Affirming church, we join our sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ and all persons who are committed to the struggle for justice, love and inclusiveness, with the example and teachings of Jesus Christ as our guide.
What does “affirming” mean?
In the context of our statement, affirming means that we go beyond tolerance. The policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” often leaves the impression that we must hide who we are in order to be accepted. To declare ourselves “Open and Affirming” means that we believe all persons are entitled to be treated with decency and respect-truly equals because we are all made by God and loved by God. We want to state clearly that no one needs to be afraid of judgment or exclusion from our church because of who they are. All persons who want to live respectfully and responsibly, and who want to join us in following Christ, are welcome.