When the phrase “All Are Welcome” just isn’t enough
For Pilgrim Faith UCC just stating that “All Are Welcome” isn't sufficient. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) people of faith often experience emotional and spiritual trauma in churches that condemn them instead of loving them. Because many LGBTQIA2S+ people have learned that the phrase “all are welcome” usually doesn't apply to them, they can't assume that any church will be safe for them and their families.
A public welcome by an Open and Affirming (ONA) gay-friendly church such as Pilgrim Faith UCC sends a clear message to LGBTQIA2S+ seekers that they have a home in the United Church of Christ. A congregation’s affirmation and support through an open and affirming covenant can be a life-changing and life-saving experience, especially for LGBTQIA2S+ youth. A public welcome like ours helps our church grow because many of our new members are starting families and identify with the values ONA represents, and want their children to learn the faith in a welcoming church.
By adopting a covenant of welcome, our congregation is taking to heart Paul’s reminder to “accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7, NIV)