CAMDEN, Maine — Members of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Camden, voted to become an open and affirming congregation at a meeting of its membership on Sunday, Sept. 22.
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.
The congregation had undertaken a yearlong study of the process, holding informational meetings, small group gatherings and question and answer sessions, all designed to encourage open conversation.
The statement adopted at the meeting reads:
“The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Camden, Maine is an Open and Affirming congregation, embracing diversity and affirming the dignity and worth of every person. Because we are all created in God’s image we welcome into full membership and participation in the Body of Christ persons of every race, ethnic background, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, socio-economic background, marital status and faith background. We welcome everyone to share in all aspects of our church life.”
The First Congregational Church is located at 55 Elm St., Camden, and is handicapped accessible through the parking lot entrance. Everyone is welcome to share in worship at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Children are invited to participate in church school during the service and child care is available. For more information call 207-236- 4821.
Submitted by Deborah Hitchings
Director of Church Life