The Mission of the Open & Affirming Ministry Program is to build a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that welcomes persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations to the table of Christ’s communion and to the full life and leadership of the Christian Church.
Inspiration for Welcoming Openly
Stories, sermons, and essays on why it’s important that our affirming welcome be open
Graceful engagement is a commitment to listen and honor another person’s faith. When we disagree with another graceful engagement invites them into further conversation. We don’t argue or debate, rather we honor where they are and invite them one small step at a time into deeper conversation.
Graceful engagement doesn’t use a resource to say “No, you’re wrong, and here’s the resource that explains why.” Rather, graceful engagement encourages conversation; and when a question arises, graceful engagement offers a resource to answer the question – and to nurture the next question.
What does it mean to welcome all? What does it mean to be Open & 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; 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.
Does every member of our congregation or ministry have to be Open & Affirming?
No. We are Disciples, after all, and we don’t expect every member of our congregations to agree about much of anything!
Open & Affirming is an attribute of the congregation or ministry as a whole: what it teaches and preaches, how its members treat one another, how its members welcome newcomers, whom it serves, and what policies it adheres to when hiring, evaluating, and compensating staff.