- Open and Affirming
The Open and Affirming Coalition certifies local churches and other settings of the United Church of Christ as “Open and Affirming” after adoption of an ONA covenant welcoming all persons into Christian fellowship. An explicit welcome to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is required. Most ONA covenants also welcome other communities that historically have been excluded or marginalized by the church.
ONA settings include:
Normally, the Coalition requires an extended period of study, prayer, reflection and dialogue before the congregation or governing body votes on an ONA covenant. Exceptions can be made for new church starts organized as LGBT-welcoming communities, and in some other cases. Read our Alternative Track to ONA Certification for more information, and if your congregation is interested in pursuing this option, contact our ONA Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ONA Coalition’s executive director, Andy Lang, can lead workshops and training events for churches curious about ONA or taking their first steps towards an ONA covenant. Our programs are suitable for Conference or Association annual meetings, or for regional training events in local churches or seminaries. Please contact Andy at email@example.com to learn more.
“Building an Inclusive Church” (BIC) workshops train lay leaders and clergy to guide their congregation towards an Open and Affirming covenant in a way that reconciles and unifies the church. BIC shows how a carefully-planned ONA process can build consensus, reduce conflict, and create opportunities for spiritual growth. Visit our Calendar page and subscribe to our free email newsletter, RIPPLES, for news about workshops as they’re scheduled.