About the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ

Advocacy, Ministry, Witness

Bishop Flunder leads Coalition choir at the 2013 General Synod ONA Banquet in Long Beach, Calif.

Bishop Yvette Flunder leads the Coalition Choir at the Coalition’s Open and Affirming Banquet during the 2013 General Synod in Long Beach, Calif. (Photo by Dan Hazard)

The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and equips UCC congregations to become effective witnesses to Christ’s extravagant welcome.

Founded in 1972, the Coalition has helped the UCC reach each of its milestones on the journey towards acceptance and justice for its LGBT and same-gender-loving (SGL)* members. From General Synod’s first resolutions advocating for the civil rights of LGBT citizens to the church’s historic affirmation of marriage equality, the Coalition has been a spur to the conscience of our beloved church. By claiming our right to participate fully in ministry and fellowship, by reminding UCC members of the injustices that continue to prevail in wider society, by providing leadership for the growing Open and Affirming movement, the Coalition has been an effective agent for change in the UCC.

In the 21st century, the Coalition faces new challenges. With our support, more than 1,800 congregations are now Open and Affirming—but we want to reach the nearly 3,600 UCC churches that have not yet publicly affirmed their welcome to the LGBT community. LGBT youth still face the threat of bullying and suicide in communities across America. Transgender citizens are still denied basic civil rights. Powerful and well-financed groups are mobilizing to enact new legislation to grant broad “religious exemptions” against discrimination in employment, housing and public services. And ONA congregations need support as they seek new ways to reach and minister to the LGBT community.

With your support, the Coalition is building a stronger movement for inclusion and justice in the UCC, and beyond. Our work continues until every congregation in the United Church of Christ can offer a authentic and confident welcome to LGBT seekers and their families.

* “SGL” is a term sometimes preferred in the African-American community as an alternative to “lesbian and gay.” We use both because our community crosses racial and ethnic barriers.

Open and Affirming

The Coalition’s core ministry is the growing movement of Open and Affirming (ONA) churches in the United Church of Christ. Under our leadership, ONA is now the largest and fastest-growing LGBT-welcoming movement in the Body of Christ. We welcomed ONA church #1 in 1986 and church #1,000 in 2012. Today there are more than 1,800 ONA congregations in the UCC—and we’re growing fast.

The Coalition works closely with the UCC’s national offices and other settings of the church, but we depend on your tax-exempt gifts for most of the funds used to support ONA churches and grow the ONA movement.

Photos from our recent history