The History Of Our Open and Affirming / More Light Ministry
Collenbrook United Church, since it’s beginning in 1975, as a union of St. Paul’s UCC and Northminster PCUSA, has perceived itself as a family of God where all can feel welcome, at home, and at ease. Collenbrook has recognized that there are individuals and groups that the greater church has not recognized or embraced fully into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Collenbrook has endeavored to reach out to these individuals through service, fellowship, and financial support. We have done so out of our conviction that this is what Jesus Christ leads us to do. We see in the life, teaching, witness, and example of Christ how we are to reach out in love to all our human neighbors.
In recent years we have witnessed the struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons for acceptance within the church of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge God’s gift of sexuality with its joy, power, and mystery. We believe that God has created us as physical, rational, emotional, spiritual, and sexual beings. We also believe that our sexual orientation is part of God’s creation and plan for us.
Since both of our denominations now (2012) permit the ordination and installation of non-heterosexual persons to the offices of pastor and elder, we affirm that policy for our congregation.
While we feel that in our actions Collenbrook has been welcoming and accepting of all persons, we understand that not all people will be aware of our openness without our making a definitive public statement of our welcoming and affirming attitude. Therefore, it is necessary for our congregation to make such a statement at this time.
We know that we are enriched as a congregation when we have a diversified membership. We recognize that different gifts, different life experiences, even different opinions can help us grow in our mutual faith. We do not wish to inhibit the ability of God to teach us and have us grow through the use of a wide diversity of individuals. In addition we never want to prevent anyone from coming to know the joy, hope, peace, and love of Jesus Christ that all of us at Collenbrook seek.
We further affirm that we are a Christian congregation. What brings us together and binds us as one is our common faith in Christ. We invite into full participation in our worship community everyone who makes the same commitment to God and Christ.
We pledge ourselves to continue in prayer and study and love to seek in God’s will for ourselves and our church.
WHEREAS, we believe that all persons are created in the image of God, and that Jesus Christ died and rose again for all persons;
WHEREAS, we believe that the world should be a place of love, compassion, and respect, free from fear, discrimination, and prejudice;
WHEREAS, as children of God we hereby reaffirm our commitment to follow God’s will as given to us in the teachings of Jesus Christ, and foremost among these teachings is Christ’s commandment to love one another;
WHEREAS, we are called by Jesus Christ to declare our faith aloud and not hide our faith from the world;
WHEREAS, becoming an Open and Affirming / More Light congregation is a witness to the wider church, proclaiming loudly and clearly exactly where Collenbrook United Church stands;