First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is an Open & Affirming Congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Open & Affirming Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have committed to openly welcome and affirm persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.
Open & Affirming Disciples congregations across the United States and Canada have as a guiding organization The Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance. This ministry recognizes its call “to join in God’s work of transforming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) into a just and inclusive church that welcomes persons of all gender expressions and sexual identities into the full life and leadership of the church.” Our congregation has been Open & Affirming and in relationship with Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance for over a decade. We recognize that we have growing edges for fully living into the call of an Open & Affirming ministry. Thus, we begin today by sharing the Alliance’s description of what it means to be welcoming, open, and affirming:
When we WELCOME persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations, we commit to including persons regardless of their gender expression or sexual orientation, welcoming all as Christ welcomes us. We do not use these attributes as a barrier to communion, membership, service, leadership, or employment in our ministry, nor as a barrier among those served.
A ministry is OPEN when it commits to communicating its welcome publicly. This may come in many forms, and most ministries do this in several ways: communicating their O&A status to Regional and General Church leadership, placing signage on their church building, publishing their O&A statement on their website, in their Sunday bulletin and in their newsletter, and wherever possible naming itself ‘an Open & Affirming Congregation [or ‘Ministry’] of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).’
A ministry is AFFIRMING when it commits to preaching and teaching a gospel which understands that God does not reject or condemn people solely for their gender expression or sexual orientation (nor any of the other attributes listed in their Open & Affirming statement).