Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Churches also commit to welcoming people of all descriptions.
On April 6, 2014, after a process and time of discernment, the members of the Homer Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, voted to adopt the following Open and Affirming Statement:
Every human being, without exception, is made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus taught that we are all children of God, that the essence of the Law and Prophets lies in love, that we should not judge, and that we should treat others as each person would want to be treated. Jesus prayed “that they all may be one.” Jesus demonstrated these principles and calls us to follow in that way which leads to life, love, peace, and justice.
In response to this call, informed by our understanding of the will of God, we, the members of Homer Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Homer, New York, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming into the life of the church persons of every age, economic and social status, educational and religious background, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, incarceration history, marital status and family structure, nationality, physical or mental ability, race, or sexual orientation. As a whole congregation, we also acknowledge that throughout history the Christian church has often condemned and excluded people. We hold that such discrimination is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus, the Christ.
Therefore, in putting our faith into practice, we accept all human beings as a gift of God, and we commit ourselves to work to end all oppression and discrimination which afflict God’s people. We affirm all relationships founded on the principles of God’s love and justice.
We commit ourselves to ensuring that our place of worship is a safe place where all people will know that they are accepted and loved without the threat of judgment or condemnation.
We pledge to come together in Christ’s name to celebrate our diversity and discover our unity. In this church all are welcome and encouraged to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our church family. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.