Video History

This video history of the Open and Affirming Coalition (formerly the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns) is incomplete: it does not mention the leadership of transgender people in the Coalition or the 2003 General Synod resolution affirming the rights of transgender persons.

ONA 30th Anniversary
‘Gathered Here’

From Sanctuary to Inclusion to Justice



  • The Rev. William R. Johnson is the first openly gay minister ordained in the United Church of Christ, and UCC members found the UCC Gay Caucus (later the Open and Affirming Coalition).


  • The UCC’s General Synod approves a resolution “Deploring the Violation of Civil Rights of Gay and Bisexual Persons.”


  • The Rev. Anne Holmes is the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the UCC.


  • Coalition leaders in Cleveland in June 1987 celebrating the UCC’s 30th anniversary. (Photo from the Congregational Library and Archives)
1984 National Gathering


  • The UCC’s General Synod urges UCC congregations to “Declare Themselves Open and Affirming.” The Coalition accepts responsibility to fund, manage and grow the Open and Affirming (“ONA”) movement.


  • The Coalition certifies the first 15 ONA congregations.


  • General Synod adopts a strong resolution “Deploring Violence against Lesbian and Gay People.”


  • General Synod calls for an end to the prohibition of military service by gay and lesbian citizens.


  • General Synod approves a resolution on “Prevention of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Suicide.”


  • General Synod votes for a resolution “Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting their Civil and Human Rights.”


  • General Synod votes for a resolution “Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting their Civil and Human Rights.”


  • General Synod affirms the adoption rights of LGBT couples and urges congregations to provide sanctuary for LGBT refugees seeking sanctuary in the U.S.


  • The UCC welcomes ONA congregation #1,000. In November, Open and Affirming churches play a key role in victories for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state.


  • The Coalition enters into Covenant relationship with both The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) and the UCC National setting. Read the TFAM Covenant here and the UCC Covenant here.


  • The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns changes its name to the “Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ,” reflecting the Coalition’s continued responsibility for the churchwide ONA movement and reaffirming its goal to lead every congregation in the UCC towards an ONA covenant.

From repeal of ‘sodomy laws’ to advocacy for marriage equality: a history of faithful witness for LGBT rights

UCC Actions on LGBT Inclusion, Human Rights

Beginning in 1969, the United Church of Christ has advocated for the LGBT community. From the campaign to decriminalize same-sex relationships to support for marriage equality, the UCC has made a difference in the lives of LGBT citizens and their families. The issues have changed over the decades, but the basic commitment to full inclusion and human rights remains the same.


Reaffirming Our Commitment to Full Equality for Persons of Any Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Discrimination | 30th General Synod


Resolution Against Bullying and Discrimination | 29th General Synod

Affirmation of Relationship Between the United Church of Christ and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries | 29th General Synod


Equal Marriage Rights for All | 25th General Synod



Equal Marriage Rights for Same-sex Couples | Directorate of the Office of Church in Society

Equal Marriage Rights for Same Gender Couples | Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries


Resolution on the Right to Privacy | 16th General Synod


Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law | Council for Christian Social Action