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> Our Associations > Metro Association > Open and Affirming  

Resolution Declaring Metro Association is
"Open and Affirming"

Passed at the May 17, 2003 Annual Meeting of the Metro Association

Any setting of the United Church of Christ (congregation, association, conference, campus ministries, national settings) may become an "Open and Affirming" setting. To be "Open and Affirming" is to make public statements of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. After prayerful consideration, delegates to the May 17, 2003 Annual Meeting of the Metro Association, New York Conference, UCC, voted the following resolution declaring the Association to be "Open and Affirming". This declaration is not binding on the churches which are members of the Association. Each congregation must make its own decision.

Calling on the faithful to declare the Metropolitan Association "Open and Affirming"

Whereas, we affirm with Jesus Christ that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), that even those whom some count as outsiders are entitled to the blessings of the Christ's realm (Matthew. 15.22-28), and that we are called to act as agents of reconciliation (Matthew. 5:23-24) and wholeness (Luke. 11:34-36) within the world and within the church itself; and

Whereas, we affirm with the apostle Paul that as Christians we are many members of same body in Christ (Romans 12:3-5), that each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind (1 Corinthians. 7:7), and that there are a variety of gifts but the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4); and

Whereas, we recognize that many persons of non-heterosexual orientation and diverse gender identities are already members of our united church through baptism and confirmation and that these people have talents and gifts to offer the United Church of Christ, and that the UCC has historically affirmed a rich diversity in its theological and biblical perspectives; and

Whereas, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ (1985) adopted a resolution to encourage "a policy of non-discrimination in employment, volunteer service and membership policies with regard to sexual orientation;" and called on congregations, associations, Conferences and all related organizations to adopt a similar non-discrimination policy and affirm a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation within the community of faith; and

Whereas, at its 33rd Annual Meeting (1996), we of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ adopted a resolution of Openness and Affirmation, and so joined other Conferences, churches and individuals who by boldly affirming, celebrating and embracing the gifts of ministry of lesbian, gay, bisexual persons and by continuing to work for justice in the church and society have declared themselves to be open and affirming; and

Whereas, many parts of the church remain silent despite the continuing discrimination and the senseless violence and denial of basic civil rights which people of non-heterosexual orientation experience; and

Whereas, Christian churches through the ages and throughout the world have often perpetuated the discriminatory practices and been unwilling to affirm the full humanness of clergy, laity and staff who are transgendered individuals or those of lesbian, gay or bisexual orientation, many of whom experience isolation, ostracism and fear of (or actual) loss of employment; and

Whereas, we join together as a covenantal community, to celebrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed created by God, reconciled by Christ and empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit;

THEREFORE be it resolved that the Metropolitan Association of New York Conference, United Church of Christ is now an Open and Affirming Association, fully accepting, supporting, and affirming the gifts of ministry and the integrity of being of all members of our Association regardless of their individual sexual orientation, gender identity, race, physical ability, age, marital status, class, ethnicity or cultural background, and that as an Association we will labor to actively encourage congregations, church instrumentalities and secular governmental bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination, openness and affirmation that address the needs and advocate the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in our church and in society.

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