Open and Affirming
Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Open and Affirming is a journey of building inclusive churches and other ministry settings that welcome the full participation of LGBTQ+ people in the UCC’s life and ministry.
Beginning in 1969, the UCC has advocated for the LGBTQ+ community. From the campaign to decriminalize same-sex relationships to support for marriage equality, the UCC has made a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens and their families. The issues have changed over the decades, but the basic commitment to full inclusion and human rights remains the same.
Learn about the process of becoming an ONA congregation and find more resources. Congregations that successfully complete an Open and Affirming journey often find that doors open to new opportunities for ministry, mission, and church growth. ONA can be an experience that revives congregations, builds relationships, and renews commitment to the deeper truths of our Christian faith.
June 18th – 20th, 2019 in Milwaukee, WI
National ONA Gathering is the biennial family reunion of the ONA movement in the UCC! Members of any church—ONA or not-yet ONA—are welcome to attend. Expect a celebration with exuberant music, inspiring preaching, and workshops that will feed your mind and soul.
‘All Are Welcome’ Isn’t Enough
LGBTQ+ people of faith often experience emotional and spiritual injury in churches that condemn their capacity to love and seek love. Because they’ve learned that “All Are Welcome” usually doesn’t apply to them, they can’t assume that any church will be safe for them and their families.
A public welcome by an Open and Affirming (ONA) church sends a clear message to LGBTQ+ seekers that they have a home in the UCC.
A congregation’s affirmation and support through an ONA covenant can be a life-changing and life-saving experience—especially for LGBTQ+ youth.
A public welcome to LGBTQ+ seekers helps churches grow. When new ONA churches attract new members, many of them are young straight couples starting new families: they identify with the values ONA represents, and want their children to learn the faith in a welcoming church.
By adopting an ONA covenant, a congregation is taking seriously St. Paul’s admonition to “accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7, NIV)