The Connecticut Conference is “Open and Affirming,” or ONA, which is the designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the United Church of Christ which make public covenants of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
The national ONA movement in the United Church of Christ (UCC) began in 1985, when the UCC General Synod adopted a resolution, "Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming". Read the text here.
The Connecticut Conference Annual Meeting voted in 1989 to become Open and Affirming. Read the text of that resolution here.
Building on this welcome, the 2003 General Synod adopted a resolution "Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting Their Civil and Human Rights." Read the text here.
The essence of an Open and Affirming covenant is the full welcome into the life and ministry of the church for "people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions" (or "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people”).
The spirit of ONA is more than affirming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. The meaning of an ONA declaration should be the commitment to affirm every person because they are children of God - those of any age, ability, race, culture and ethnicity, family configuration, health status, immigration status, whether with children or not, as well as any other description that might separate us.
A true welcome respects and honors every person, their story, their gifts and their needs. A welcome to some but not others is no real welcome.
Find this new ministry team on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/CTConferenceONA
In order for a church to be listed ONA by the Coalition, it must present a covenant that makes reference to the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. The Coalition provides excellent examples of ONA covenants. Please note that nearly all churches choose to expand their welcome to name other groups that have been oppressed and include them in their welcome covenant. Go here for examples. The Connecticut Conference ONA Ministry Team can help with wording.
Open and Affirming Coalition - Resources for local churches considering becoming ONA and other information