Commitment to Openness and Affirmation
In keeping with the Covenant of our church, we, the members of the Plymouth Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ in Plymouth, New Hampshire, respond to the call of the 15th General Synod of the United Church of Christ and to the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ by making the following commitment:
Blessed by the bountiful care of God and by the support and love of one another, this church seeks to affirm all members of our fellowship and all who live in the greater community. We especially declare our openness and affirmation to all who have been diminished by prejudice, bigotry and oppression. We marvel at the many children of God and their varied talents. Yet we acknowledge that the world’s views have often prevailed and that these same brothers and sisters in Christ have at times been neglected or met with silence.
As a result of this Church’s experiences, intentional study, prayer and action in dealing with those who may feel alienated from the Church of Jesus Christ, we lift up all people as equal brothers and sisters and resolve that this Church shall continue to seek ways to affirm and to include them.
Recalling the example of our Lord, we resolve to welcome all people regardless of their economic status. We look and work for the day when success will not be measured by material wealth.
Recognizing the enrichment of the Church calls for the involvement of all people, we resolve to welcome both young and old, as well as those of all physical and mental abilities. Remembering the Good Samaritan, we resolve to welcome all without regard to race or ethnic background. We shall be active in celebrating the rich texture of our cultural differences.
Acknowledging that all are equal recipients of God’s grace, we resolve to welcome those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Just as many gifts from God differ from one person to another, we understand sexual orientation to vary.
Knowing that in Christ there is no such thing as male and female, we resolve to welcome both men and women as equals. We welcome all people, in families, couples or as single persons, and hope that together we may work toward justice and peace.
Therefore, we declare that the Plymouth Congregational Church shall be an open and affirming Church for all people in both its membership and leadership. Knowing that this commitment poses a spiritual challenge, we promise to gently encourage each other in our own struggle to understand and accept, to pray for the strength to dispel ignorance, fear and hatred, and to choose to turn toward loving and away from judging, since only God is capable of pure impartiality.
Resting in the guidance and inspiration of Scripture and believing that there are many interpretations of the Word, we acknowledge that God encompasses yet surpasses the written word, and we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our continuing quest to be open and affirming.
26 January, 1992