Open and Affirming Press Release

100 Year Old Church Looks to the Future Lake Worth, FL April 17, 2012

The members of the First Congregational Church of Lake Worth UCC – celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year – have declared themselves as an “Open and Affirming” (ONA) congregation. This means that all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identities and gender expressions (or “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” people) are welcome into the full life and ministry of the church. By taking this step, First Congregational UCC joins with 1,000 United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations across the nation, the largest and fastest growing ONA movement in the world.

The church is located at 1415 No. K Street, Lake Worth, FL 33460

For more information, contact: Rev. Jason Fairbanks, Pastor 
church office: 561-582-6691 Web Site: www.fcclw.org

We Are Now Open and Affirming!

Last Sunday, the membership of First Congregational Church of Lake Worth voted to adopt the following statement:

The people of First Congregational Church of Lake Worth believe that all people are created in God’s image and thus are blessed and loved equally by God. In seeking to follow Jesus Christ, we invite diversity and affirm the dignity and worth of every person.

Therefore, we welcome all to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our church family. We embrace persons of every age, gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, faith background, marital status and family structure, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, mental and physical ability, economic and social status, and educational background.

We are open and affirming. All are welcome!

Thank you to all who participated in the discussions that were held and special thanks to our Open and Affirming leadership team: Janet Lisle, Mark Stanford, Carolyn Ludwig, and Debbie Copeland.

Open and Affirming Statement

On Wednesday March 8th, a group, many of whom have met together four times over the past two months, gathered together to craft the following statement:

The people of First Congregational Church of Lake Worth believe that all people are created in God’s image and thus are blessed and loved equally by God. In seeking to follow Jesus Christ, we invite diversity and affirm the dignity and worth of every person.

Therefore, we welcome all to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our church family. We embrace persons of every age, gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, faith background, marital status and family structure, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, mental and physical ability, economic and social status, and educational background.

We are open and affirming. All are welcome!

Next Sunday, March 18th, immediately following the worship service, we will hold a congregational meeting for the purpose of approving the above statement thereby proclaiming ourselves as an Open and Affirming church.

Opening and Affirming Update 3/6/12

We had a great experience together Wednesday evening as we watched a video of a pastor who explained his journey of coming to accept and affirm his son’s homosexuality. We also heard from our own Richmond who explained why he feels it is so important that we as a church intentionally declare ourselves Open and Affirming to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

The video was shown again on Sunday March 4th after the worship service. It will be shown again after worship on March 11th, when the Open and Affirming team will also be available to answer any questions and address any concerns people may have about this decision.

We are inviting as many as possible to join us this Wednesday evening, March 7th, as we gather to craft our Open and Affirming statement. This statement will be presented to the congregation for approval on Sunday, March 18th.

Open and Affirming Update

We have had two fantastic gatherings so far in our discernment process for becoming an intentionally Open and Affirming church. On January 5th, we began the conversation by exploring our attitudes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people how we feel about issues faced by the LGBT community. On February 8th, we gathered with Pastor Jason and together read and engaged scriptures in the Bible which seem to speak to the issue of homosexuality.

We will have two more sessions of the Open and Affirming study group. On Wednesday, February 29th at 6:00 PM, we will meet in the parlor to hear the thoughts and experiences of two participants in our church who are gay. We will also discuss the subjects of bisexuality and transgender people.

Our final meeting will be Wednesday, March 7th. At this gathering we will discuss issues of discrimination and bullying. We will also participate in crafting our Open and Affirming Statement. This statement will be presented to the church to be voted upon on Sunday, March 18th.

We appreciate everyone who has participated in this process thus far. We want to encourage anyone who has not participated to join us at the next two gatherings and listen or participate in the discussions.

Open and Affirming Process Begins

On Sunday, January 15th we will kick off a period of learning and dialogue regarding our church becoming intentionally Open and Affirming to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. You will meet the team who will lead us through this process and hear a message of encouragement straight from scripture that will invite us to consider truly opening wide the doors of our church to anyone no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey.

 

Then, on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM (with snacks from 6:00 – 6:30) on January 25th, February 8th, 29th and March 7th, we will engage in educational and conversational opportunities regarding what becoming an Open and Affirming Church would mean for us, what he Bible has to say about the subject and other topics. Then, at the end of March, we will decide whether we want to make the commitment to become an Open and Affirming church.

Your questions and participation are encouraged as we take this exciting journey together!