The Pastor’s Study – June 2024

When I started as pastor at CPC in 2006, the congregation was considering taking the steps necessary to become recognized as an Open and Affirming congregation of the UCC as discussed in the cover story of this month’s issue of The Beacon. It was told to me at that time that CPC had already resolved the dispute about the full inclusion of LGBT members and their families and that those who opposed had opted to leave before I started. Since that time much has changed in the outside world, but despite a few starts and stops, not much has changed in the official stance of our congregation.

“But we’ve had plenty of openly gay and lesbian members and they’ve all been received with open minds and open arms; aren’t we already Open and Affirming?”

I’ve been asked this so many times, and my answer has always been “It’s complicated… yes, we have been very good at welcoming those who identify as LGBT into the life of our church, but we are not officially yet Open and Affirming. It’s a process that requires drafting and adopting a covenant.” Then people’s eyes glaze over and they are left wondering where we stand.

The truth of the matter is that we should have taken these official steps years ago, when it required more courage to do so. Now, when people are searching on the UCC’s website for a church to visit, the information reflects that we are not an ONA congregation. It is time for us to state clearly and plainly that people who’ve found themselves excluded from full inclusion in other congregations because of who they love or how they’re perceived by others can find the love of God in Christ here at CPC, just as we have and those who have come before us.