Congratulations to the United Church of Christ’s newest Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation — Trinity Reformed Church, United Church of Christ in Collegeville — and pastor, Rev. Dr. Martha Kriebel. On December 10, a congregational vote was held by ballot in worship, with 109 people voting. The decision to adopt the ONA Covenant was unanimous!
The church’s Open and Affirming Covenant reads:
Throughout our Trinity UCC history we have defined our congregation and our beliefs with the Word of God as our guide. That Word calls us to be baptized into new life in Christ who commands us to love one another as he has loved us. In keeping with our beliefs, we have shunned social pressures and defended against social injustices to create a congregation that is welcoming to all – a haven, if you will, for anyone who shares these beliefs to be free to grow in their relationship with God without judgement or fear, without condemnation or retribution.
Over the decades we have rightfully banished prejudice from entering our House of Worship and spoke, through word and deed, for the rights of women, minorities, the disabled, the disadvantaged at home and abroad, and now the rights of our LGBT community who need that feeling of safety and community as they grow in their faith in God.
We celebrate the respect we have for each other as individuals and the love we share for our Trinity UCC community. So now is the time to solidify our status as an Open and Affirming Church through the below Covenant.
The members of Trinity Reformed Church, United Church of Christ, celebrate the diversity in which God created humanity, called us “Good” and declared us “Beloved”.
We follow Jesus Christ who taught us that the greatest commandment is to “Love God and Love our Neighbor”. And who, when he left us, declared to those who would follow him that we should above all, “Love One Another”.
We declare we are a welcoming and inclusive church and that our doors and ministry are open to all without exception.
We celebrate the diversity in creation.
Because of these beliefs, we welcome everyone into our community of spiritual life. All ages, races and cultures, all gender expressions, all religious traditions, all sexual orientations, all economic statuses, all physical, emotional, and mental states of being.
We recognize and affirm relationships created and lived in love, equality, and personal covenant. We embrace traditional and non-traditional families as well as single persons.
All people, regardless of where they are on their personal faith journey, are invited to share in the full life and leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, responsibilities, and blessings of our fellowship.
As a Christian community, we acknowledge past mistakes and hurt to persons perpetrated by the church…and we take on the urgent mission to reach out to those who have been excluded from spiritual communities or from the community at large.
We commit to model a community of faith and spirit that offers justice, healing, and wholeness of life for all people.
As followers of Jesus Christ, who invited all persons to his table, we believe that our diversity is the strength and beauty in our fellowship.
Because of these beliefs and practices, in partnership with other congregations of our denomination, Trinity Reformed Church, United Church of Christ declares itself, with joy, to be an Open and Affirming Church.
Congratulations to Trinity Reformed UCC, Collegeville, the 1488th church to become ONA since 1985.
For more information on ONA churches and the process of becoming ONA, visit: openandaffirming.org.