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We Are An Open and Affirming Congregation

An “Open and Affirming” (ONA) church is one that has publicly declared that members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome in its full life and ministry (e.g. membership, leadership, employment, etc.), and has been acknowledged by the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ.  

Open and Affirming means that we are open to the membership and leadership of people who are LGBTQIA+ in our congregation, and we affirm that God’s image and love and gifts are fully present within ALL people.  When we say “no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” we are working to really mean it. 

Salem United Church of Christ became an Open and Affirming Church on Sunday, January 29, 2017, following a process of discussion, study, and discernment. On that date, Salem UCC approved our Open and Affirming Statement.

Bodies in the United Church of Christ have been making such statements for more than thirty years. They have addressed, among other issues: support for LGBTQ+ civil rights, elimination of institutionalized homophobia within the UCC, HIV/AIDS education and care as it affects LGBT persons, and affirmation of the gifts and ministries of LGBTQ+ clergy and church members.

Being an Open and Affirming congregation is an ongoing process of learning and affirming, studying and stepping up, blessing and welcoming people into belonging. 


Salem UCC ONA Statement

The purpose of Salem United Church of Christ is to live out the love of God in ways that are faithful to God, relevant to today, open to all, and striving to improve.

We are an open and affirming congregation that believes that all people are created in God's image and thus are loved and blessed equally by God.  And as it states in Luke 10:25-28, we should "Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, with all our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves."

We welcome and celebrate everyone, including people of all ages, races, cultures, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, family configurations, economic circumstances, faith backgrounds, and physical and mental abilities.

We celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of each expression of God's diverse family as well as our oneness in Christ.

In our community of faith all people are encouraged to participate and share their talents and energy in worship and sacraments, leadership positions, ordained ministry, lay ministry, learning, service, mission and fellowship.

We commit ourselves to the ongoing work of being an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation, striving to demonstrate in all ways that no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome at Salem United Church of Christ.

Open and Affirming: Ministries

Open and Affirming Resources

Open and Affirming Coalition

Founded in 1972, the Coalition has helped the UCC reach each of its milestones on the journey towards acceptance and justice for its LGBTQ+ and same-gender-loving (SGL)* members. From General Synod’s first resolutions advocating for the civil rights of homosexual citizens to the church’s historic affirmation of marriage equality, the Coalition has been a spur to the conscience of our beloved church. By claiming our right to participate fully in ministry and fellowship, by reminding UCC members of the injustices that continue to prevail in wider society, by providing leadership for the growing Open and Affirming movement, the Coalition has been an effective agent for change in the UCC.

(“SGL” is a term sometimes preferred in the African-American community as an alternative to “lesbian and gay.” We use both because our community crosses racial and ethnic barriers.)

Open and Affirming: Price List
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