"Open and Affirming" is the way many in the United Church of Christ (UCC) declare welcome and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), same gender loving (SGL) persons into the full life and ministry of the church.
The message of love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. Open and Affirming (ONA) ministries and resources are rooted in that Gospel message. The testimonies of these ministries proclaim the truth of God's power to transform cultures of hate and violence into communities of healing and reconciliation. They give witness to God’s continuing testament and how the gifts of God are being liberated for service in the world.
The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBT people did so in 1969. The Council for Christian Social Action, a predecessor body to Justice and Witness Ministries adopted the "Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law." In 1972, the UCC ordained the first openly gay person into ministry, the Rev. William R. Johnson. In 1985, the UCC's General Synod declared itself to be "open and affirming" and called upon all settings of the church to become similarly poised to welcome LGBT persons as full members of the church.
Plymouth Church became one of those ONA congregations in 1991. In the decades since we've joined in the struggle for civil rights, blessed many couples, and celebrated the 2015 ruling for same-sex marriage rights. We continue to work for the full inclusion of people regardless of sexual orientation and gender expression.