Open and Affirming (known in the UCC as ONA) has begun at the Congregational Church of Grafton! Wednesday night an enthusiastic and spirit-filled group gathered to discuss their own ONA journey. We began by simply listening to each other as each person in the group shared their own journey answering the question “what has brought you to this place?” We finished our discussion with each person answering “where do you think the church is concerning ONA?” It was inspiring.
Reverend Robert Ochoa-Schutz from Lake View Congregational Church in Worcester also attended the meeting. Reverend Ochoa-Schutz is an ONA consultant from the National Coalition of LGBT Concerns. He answered questions and encouraged us in our effort as he shared his own personal story.
The next ONA Leadership Team meeting will be at the parsonage at 7:00 Wednesday, June 25. We will begin to make decisions on next steps as we guide the congregation in its ONA discernment.
Still not sure what ONA is or why we have to do it? Open and Affirming is a specific designation for congregations which make a public welcome to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. The key word here is “public”. Not all churches (in fact, many) welcome the LGBT community. People in that community only know they are welcome at a particular church, if the welcome is made public. So we want to be “out there” with our welcome. That means statements on our bulletin, website, newsletter, and the front of the church.
We know we are the church of the extravagant welcome—being ONA will let the world know.
Interested in ONA? click here.
See You in the Pews,