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From the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and the Open and Affirming (ONA) movement
Dear friends at Grace UCC!
We want to thank you for your witness in your own congregation and to the many in your community who are looking for a place they can call home. We just wanted you to know that there’s a wider community of ONA churches (you’re number 934!) who are with you in spirit.
We hope you’ll subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter—RIPPLES—which is one way you can stay in touch with other ONA churches as we continue this journey together. The subscription link is on our home page at http://ucccoalition.org.
Please let us know if we can help in any way.
Andy Lang Executive Director UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns
World AIDS Day - December 1
The UCC Still Speaking Devotional for December - Here's Why We Hope Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell
2 Samuel 7: 21 "Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness. . ."
Sometimes, you're hopeful because it's all you have left. Your options are exhausted, and all you can do is bow your head, cross your fingers, and hope. That ain't Advent.
Advent is hoping for a reason, and with a purpose. The reason: God has already wrought all this greatness. The purpose: So that you can get in on the action.
Here's why we hope: 2000 years ago, God entered the world and took on full humanity so that none of us would ever have to lose ours.
Here's why we hope: 54 years ago today, God entered the world in Rosa Parks, refused to move from her seat, and sparked a movement that continues to help people claim the fullness of their humanity to this day.
Here's why we hope: today is World AIDS Day. Today, God is entering the world in thousands upon thousands of healthcare professionals and activists and clergy and financial donors and educators and YOU, so that men in America's urban gay ghettos and women in Africa and children born to infected parents and everybody in between who lives with HIV or AIDS might live their full humanity, too. Learn more and get in on the action at www.worldaidscampaign.org. http://act.ucc.org/site/R?i=OhowA-_5rcLpXnJRO703_g
Sometimes, you hope because it's all you have left. In Advent, you hope because God has already wrought all this greatness, and because you know God well enough to expect more.
Prayer: God, grant me the gift of hope in your future, and grant that I might be in on the action of building it. Amen.
About the Author Quinn G. Caldwell is Associate Minister of Old South Church in Boston,
Massachusetts, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ.
Grace UCC voted at our Annual Meeting on January 30, 2011, (only one abstaining vote and one negative vote) to adopt for our church the General Synod XV resolution. On March 27, 2011, the congregation voted unanimously to add the term transgendered in the final ONA resolution.
Resolution calling Grace United Church of Christ to covenant to become an Open and Affirming Congregation:
Adopted by General Synod XV, UCC,
Whereas, the Apostle Paul said that, as Christians, we are many members, but we are one body in Christ (Rom. 12:4), and Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk. 12:31) without being judgmental (Mt. 7:1-2) nor disparaging of others (Lk. 18:9-14); and
· we believe that lesbian, gay and bisexual people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals;
· we welcome gay, lesbian and bisexual people to join our congregation in the same spirit and manner used in the acceptance of any new members;
· we recognize the presence of ignorance, fear and hatred in the church and in our culture, and covenant to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, nor any other irrelevant factor, and we seek to include and support those who, because of this fear and prejudice, find themselves in exile from a spiritual community;
· we seek to address the needs and advocate the concerns of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in our church and in society by actively encouraging church instrumentalities and secular governmental bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination; and
· 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, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ encourages a policy of non-discrimination in employment, volunteer service and membership policies with regard to sexual orientation; encourages associations, Conferences and all related organizations to adopt a similar policy; and encourages the congregations of the United Church of Christ to adopt a non-discrimination policy and a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation within the community of faith.
Therefore Grace United Church of Christ of