Support the Coalition and the ONA movement!




You can help shape the future of the Open and Affirming movement in the United Church of Christ, and beyond!

In 2022, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of LGBT advocacy in the United Church of Christ, which began less than a year after the historic ordination of William R. Jones. Starting in 1987, the Coalition began certifying churches who had committed in covenant to serve LGBTQIA+ people. That first year, only 15 churches adopted an ONA covenant. In the past three decades our movement has grown to nearly 1,700 congregations, from 0.1 to 33.8 percent of the United Church of Christ, from about 3,000 members of our church to over a quarter million—the largest and fastest-growing LGBTQ-affirming church movement in the world!

During those decades the Coalition has led our church towards a vision of a community gathered in the name of Jesus Christ where all are wanted, all are welcome, no one is left behind.

But we are not done – this work we have been called to do is not yet complete. We remain committed to our goal of becoming a denomination that is 100% Open and Affirming to all people, no matter who they are, where they are on their own journey, or who they love along that road. In the coming years, we know we will also be called into speaking more as advocates on behalf of LGBTQIA+ people, defending them from attacks and pushing for justice.

Six Good Reasons to support the ONA Coalition Today

■ We’re proud our movement is growing fast—at a rate of almost two new ONA churches a week prior to 2020. But too many UCC congregations are still unable to offer a confident and well-informed welcome to their LGBTQ neighbors. In a 100% Open and Affirming church, every United Church of Christ congregation and setting is a safe place for LGBTQIA+ Christians and their families.

■ LGBTQIA+ youth across America are still threatened by bullying and suicide, both inside and outside of faith communities. In a 100% Open and Affirming church, every UCC congregation will speak up as advocates in their local community, pushing for increases to anti-bullying and suicide-prevention practices in local public and parochial school in their area. Every UCC congregation will offer a safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth. And every UCC congregation will become W.I.S.E. certified, learning techniques and best practices to serve youth and adults experiencing mental health challenges.  

■ Transgender citizens still struggle for respect, and the suicide rate among transgender Americans is higher than any other group. Additionally, transgender people are more likely to experience workplace discrimination, rejection from family members, and be harmed or killed because of the bias that leads to hate crimes. Unfortunately, in spite of these increased challenges, even fewer ONA churches are prepared to be 100% ONA to trans families. In a 100% Open and Affirming churches, every UCC congregation will welcome transgender seekers and stand with them when their rights or dignity are under attack.

■ LGBTQ seniors often face abuse and neglect in retirement communities and nursing homes. At a time when they’re physically and emotionally vulnerable, LGBTQ seniors too often are forced back into the closet. Many of them are looking for community, but don’t know there are LGBTQ-affirming churches that will welcome them. In a 100% Open and Affirming church, every UCC congregation will reach out to their older neighbors, and advocate for their safety and their dignity as they make decisions about their next steps. 

■ In a savage reaction to the emancipation of LGBTQIA+ communities in North America and Western Europe, countries around the world with an estimated LGBTQIA+ population of 105 million have adopted laws criminalizing their LGBTQIA+ citizens. Laws penalizing “homosexual behavior” are often a signal to vigilantes that they can assault and murder their gay, lesbian and gender non-conforming neighbors with impunity. As a result, LGBTQIA+ refugees are increasingly seeking asylum in the United States, but lack sponsors and support structures. In a 100% Open and Affirming church, LGBTQIA+ asylum-seekers will be welcomed and supported in UCC congregations around the country.

Our goal: a church where every congregation is Open and Affirming, and where every Open and Affirming church fully embraces the potential of their ONA covenant.

We can reach that goal, but we need your help! 

The Coalition is an independent non-profit, and our national ONA program receives no regular funding from Our Church’s Wider Mission. More than 60 percent of our budget depends on gifts from individuals and ONA congregations. Your gift–large or small–will make a difference in the lives of countless LGBTQIA+ seekers who still have not heard the message that there is a church where they and their families are safe.

Here’s how your support will change our church

■ We’ll expand resources, training programs and our churchwide network of ONA consultants to help congregations work towards an ONA covenant in ways that build consensus and reduce conflict.

■ We’ll expand our series of webinars and workshops to train ONA churches in the best practices for advocacy, evangelism, communication and growth.

■ We’ll support ONA congregations in their advocacy for LGBTQ youth, seniors and asylum-seekers.

■ We’ll help ONA churches resist attempts to roll back LGBTQ civil rights.

■ We’ll build ONA support structures in every Conference of the United Church of Christ.

In 2021, you can be part of a revival of the Open and Affirming movement in the United Church of Christ. Together, we can reclaim the vision of our movement’s founders in 1985: of a church where not some, but all congregations live out Christ’s call for justice, reconciliation and peace.

To contribute, you can make a secure online donation. You may also commit to becoming a sustaining supporter of this movement.

Thank you for keeping faith with the vision of the Open and Affirming movement!