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"No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are TRULY welcome here"
Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ's (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
On Sunday June 9th, 2013, Second Congregational Church of Boxford voted to adopt an Open and Affirming Covenant, becoming the 1122nd Congregation in the UCC to make a public Covenant.
Open Hearts , Open Minds and Open Doors
Second Church of Boxford Covenant
As people who walk in God’s way, we are a congregational church of Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors. Second Congregational Church of Boxford genuinely, enthusiastically, and lovingly welcomes all people to share in the full life and ministry of our church.
We are committed to loving each other as God loves us, freely and unconditionally, and to affirming everyone regardless of age; race; faith; mental, physical, or intellectual ability; socioeconomic status; marital status; family configuration; sexual orientation; gender identity; gender expression; or ethnicity.
Although we are many members, we are one body in Christ. As one body, we are called and challenged by God to respect and reconcile our differences. Our faith calls us to speak up in the face of prejudice, injustice, and exclusion, and to express, in word and deed, our hope for justice and inclusiveness for humanity.
The Inclusive Committee
The Inclusive Committee was formed after Second Church Adopted an Open and Affirming Covenant, continuing the work of the Open and Affirming Committee.
The Inclusive Committee reports to the Church Council and is charged with “envisioning ways to become a more of open and affirming congregation and suggest ways to implement the vision."
Contact the Inclusive Committee at: ONA@secondchurchboxford.org
We would love to hear your questions, thoughts, opinions and ideas. Watch our web page for updates and look for our articles in the church Messenger to see what were working on. We have a laundry list of things to do, check it out and see what we are planning next!
ONA Educational & Support Resources
|Resource||Content / Purpose|
|Church Library||A collection of educational books and literature concerning LGBTQ issues & concerns. Watch for new materials in the coming year.|
|Church ONA Bulletin Board||Coming soon...Watch for our new Open & Affirming bulletin board where we will post educational resources, outreach opportunities & events.|
|UCC Coalition of LGBT Concerns||The United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the UCC, and equips UCC congregations to become effective witnesses to Christ’s extravagant welcome.|
|Welcoming Faiths Slideshow||"Welcoming Faiths" is a coalition of LGBTQ allies, currently from 14 area Congregations.
The Members Are Episcopal, Jewish, Methodist, Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ, located in the Lower Merrimack Valley Communities of Andover, Boxford, Chelmsford, Haverhill, Lowell and North Andover.
|The Trevor Project||Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. Telephone: 866.488.7386|
|Stand Up Foundation||The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Inc. supports organizations, programs and people to raise awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying and to raise funds to support those doing real-world work to stop it.|
A Brief History of Our Open and Affirming Journey
* Pastor Laura’s Sermon dated June 9th 2013...
Blessed With A New Identity eloquently delivers a heartfelt account of our Open and Affirming journey.
…..For those of you who are gay or lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, or questioning, I need to apologize. I am sorry for the injustices that you have endured in the name of God. I am sorry for the pain that churches have caused you by our action, and by our inaction…… I am sorry that the dark of a closet ever felt like the safest place to be, in a world unsafe for you. I am sorry, because staying in a closet will surely suffocate you……God loves everyone and God loves you. That God creates everyone as God created you. And because God doesn’t make mistakes, there is no doubt that God made you beautifully and perfectly in God’s own image. Of this, I am sure…..
* Heartfelt and enthusiastic letters...
from our Church Moderator, the Chairman of the Open and Affirming Committee and very personal witness statements from our youth (past and present) were published in the June 2013 Summer Messenger.
* Open & Affirming Sunday....
The 4th Sunday in January is recognized as Open and Affirming Sunday by the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns. On Sunday, January 26th 2014, Second Church celebrated and re-affirmed our Church Covenant . There was a beautiful choir anthem, a guest soloist, a special children’s message, and Pastor Laura delivered her sermon Now What. The celebration closed with a benediction response of an invitational singing of a special 3 part choral arrangement of “De Colores” (a Second Church Favorite).
* The Open and Affirming Committee...
The Second Church Inclusive Committee would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the members of the Open and Affirming Committee (pictured right) for their dedicated service spanning over 2+ years. A heartfelt word of thanks and appreciation also for everyone who participated in educational events, offered support in countless ways, offered feedback, wrote letters, and provided very personal witness statements, all making the vision of adopting an ONA covenant a reality for Second Church.
Peace and Blessings
Never place a period where God has placed a comma. ~Gracie Allen