United Church of Wayland is an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation, meaning that we have publicly and specifically declared that everyone is welcome into the life of this church, regardless of race, origin, age, abilities, economic situation or sexual orientation, gender identities or gender expressions (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender - LGBT). We embrace the values of extravagant welcome and radical hospitality and express a willingness to live out that welcome in meaningful ways.
While being an O&A church means we are accepting to all of those who are marginalized by society, the often bitter struggles around LGBT concerns in church and society makes it clear that there is a need to be specific about the inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches.
In addition, the misinformation, stereotypes, and prejudices which fuel heterosexism, sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, etc. are numerous and interwoven in our society. Welcoming persons in regardless of color, age, abilities, economic situation, etc., and continued commitment to continually work against all oppression is encouraged, in the name of God’s extravagant welcome.
Extending our extravagant welcome and radical hospitality to everyone enables us to bring our whole selves to the worship and service of God.
Such a wide welcome involves ongoing education, prayer, and advocacy about the spectrum of who we are so that we may better understand one another’s experiences and help shape a world that is just and respectful of us all.
We look to our church to witness to God’s inclusive love and help us to better understand and live it.
We Are Open and Affirming
Why it Matters:
· Too many LGBT people and their families live with the pain of having believed that “everyone” meant them, only to discover otherwise.
· No one should have to guess about the “boundaries of inclusion” of a congregation or other ministry.
· A clear welcome matters to LGBT adults who, seeking to share their faith and gifts with the church, often wonder if they will meet with silence or condemnation if they are “out” in church.
· It matters to LGBT youth who need the guidance of faith communities as they question and establish their understandings of sexuality, spirituality, and relationships, but fear the same disapproval of their lives or dismissal of their gifts.
· It matters to families which too often hide the fact that they have LGBT children or other relatives. Fearing the indifference or rejection of their church, they are cut off from support and sharing which would enrich them and their congregation.
· It matters to LGBT clergy who often feel that to serve the church they must hide their true selves and lives.
· It matters to all Christians who believe that God’s affirmation of the gifts of loving relationships and sexuality are not restricted to those who are heterosexual,