Opportunities To Live in Covenant

Your Open and Affirming congregation can help change the world!

Being an ONA Congregation isn’t just about welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seekers into a congregation. An Open and Affirming Covenant is a living commitment to speak out as a partner and ally to the concerns of LGBTQIA+ people, and enabling faith communities to put their faith into action by advocating in their wider community. This might include issues

  • for LGBT youth in your community, especially in public and charter schools where they face cyber bullying, verbal abuse, and physical assault.
  • for eliminating harmful practices such as Conversion Therapy, especially for youth and young adults.
  • for basic civil rights. Marriage was legalized for all people by the Supreme Court in 2015. However, the past four years have seen a push by the current administration to roll back that right and others.
  • for LGBT seniors who aren’t safe in their nursing and retirement homes, and who need the support of a church family.
  • for transgender citizens who face discrimination in employment and housing, and whose basic medical needs aren’t covered by health insurance.
  • for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers who face persecution and imprisonment at home … or worse.
  • for the millions affected by HIV worldwide who are denied the treatment and medicines they need to live.

Your ONA congregation can make a difference—in your community, in your state, and beyond. Every small step you take towards justice and human rights brings us closer to the reign of God in which everyone is wanted, everyone is welcome, no one is left behind. Use these resources to open windows to new possibilities for ministry and mission for your church, and contact the Coalition if you need support!

One of the main resources we use on the path of an Open and Affirming journey is Building an Inclusive Church. This ecumenical guide was developed by the LGBT Task Force through the Welcoming Church Program Leaders group. You can buy a full color, printed and spiral-bound copy through the UCC Resources store (the picture in the store is outdated – you will get the updated guide) or you can download it and save the PDF.

Information for Advocacy

Bisexual people are the largest demographic within the LGBTQIA+ community. Your church can advocate for this often-hidden subgroup.

Bullying and Suicide
LGBT teens are often subject to verbal and physical abuse in public and charter schools. Your church can make a difference.

Most states don’t protect LGBT citizens in their laws barring discrimination in housing and employment.

We know how to treat this disease, but do we have the will to assure the millions affected by this disease have access to medicine and treatment?

Mental Health
Mental health challenges are often caused by trauma, and for many LGBT people the coming out process can be traumatic.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers
In many countries, LGBT citizens face increasingly harsh laws that punish their sexual orientation or gender identity with imprisonment, torture, and death.

LGBT seniors often live in isolation and fear in nursing homes and retirement communities. Will you be their church family?

Transgender and Nonbinary People
Transgender Americans face barriers in housing and employment, and most insurance policies don’t cover their medical needs.

Additional Links
As you set priorities for your ONA congregation, these resources will help.