In 2015, the members of Greensboro United Church of Christ entered an Open and Affirming Covenant. They did so two years before I came to serve as their pastor. That they had done it was one of the reasons that made me want to be their pastor. After much prayer, discussion, and believing that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, they spoke these words together:
Because we the people of the Greensboro United Church of Christ believe that all persons are loved and valued by God, all are invited and welcomed into our church family. We are committed to following the teachings of Jesus to love all people, and we seek to be an expression of God’s love in the world.
We invite and welcome into our community persons of every sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, ability, age, race, nationality, ethnicity, economic and social status, faith background and family structure.
All persons are encouraged to participate in the life, leadership, ministry and mission of this church as we seek to grow together in a safe, nurturing community of faith.
What is made clear in the second paragraph of this covenant is that “. . .persons of every sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” are welcome in our congregation. What that means is that “. . .persons of every sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” are welcome to be who God created them to be in our congregation. It means that we love you the way God made you. Yes, if you have found another with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, we will gladly witness your vows, celebrate your love and bless your journey.
We feel this way and seek to live out this covenant not because of a law that was passed by Congress or a decision that was made by a court, but because this is who we understand God calling us to be.
To our LGBTQ+ siblings, we know that these words will not undo the hurt you have endured nor prevent the hardships that may be in front of you. However, we want you to know that we see you and we love you. More than that, we want you to know that you are not alone. Holler if you need anything, 802.533.2223.