We, the members of the First Congregational Church of Vancouver, are a diverse group of people who have known the joy of having been accepted and affirmed by God and by one another. We are a diverse group of persons who celebrate that diversity and view it as a way to understand the inclusiveness of God’s love. We believe that, although we are many individuals, we are one body in Christ. We are called upon to love each other, to do justice, to bring release to the oppressed, and to walk humbly with God. We seek to work together in the light of the Gospel to define principles of human relationships and behavior that are based upon nurturing each other as whole persons with love, responsibility, accountability and trust. Our sexuality is a gift of God which enriches our lives and deeply touches our own and each other’s uniqueness and humanity. It is a channel through which we experience the abundant life.
As a congregation and as individuals, we lift up the following as evidence of our opennes to and affirmation of all persons:
1. We celebrate the image of God in every person, we rejoice in the sacredness of life, and we affirm all relationships of support that are founded on the principles of love and justice. We affirm the traditional family, and we further recognize and support single persons, lesbian and gay relationships, single parent families, and extended families.
2. We condemn all acts of discrimination and violence (physical, emotional, social, political, legal) against any person because of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, or physical or mental disabilities or limitations. We pledge to support advocacy efforts to assure that every individual is treated with fairness and justice in our society.
3. We affirm that all persons are welcome into the community of believers upon making the same affirmation of faith that all other members make. We believe that God, without discrimination or judgement, welcomes all who seek their Creator. We encourage all members to share talents, gifts and energy in the liturgy, life, and leadership of the congregation.
4. We pledge ourselves to support and honor committed partnerships of gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual persons, recognizing the difficulty of maintaining such partnerships in the absence of social validation and legal frameworks which do support heterosexual unions.
Therefore, we the members of First Congregational United Church Christ of Vancouver, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming Church in response to the call of the 15th General Synod of the United Church of Christ, July 2, 1985.