Wherever you are on life’s journey you are welcome here. And just to be clear about it, that welcome extends to you if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
A favorite phrase of the United Church of Christ, of which First Church Williamstown is a member, is “Whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here,” or in shorter, pithier form, “Wherever you are on life’s journey you are welcome here.” (For more about the UCC, check out the videos on the UCC, page ). Individual congregations in the UCC can choose to go beyond this general welcome and become officially designated as “Open & Affirming” churches, indicating to any and all that they explicitly include in this welcome people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. First Church Williamstown has proudly been an Open and Affirming Congregation since 1992. An example of a local event that we host, is the monthly Rainbow Seniors lunch & fellowship meeting. If you would like to read our Open and Affirming Covenant, scroll to the bottom of the page. To quote another UCC saying:
Our faith is 2000 years old, our thinking is not.
- You can learn more about the history and details of the “Open and Affirming” designation (infelicitously known in UCC-speak as “ONA”) by clicking on the rainbow comma (and if you are wondering what’s up with the whole comma thing, check out the UCC, page).
- You can click on the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns logo for more information on that organization, including an opportunity to sign up for an occasional newsletter.
- Or, if what brought you here was the thought of wedding bells in your future and you just wanted to make sure that First Church would be a welcoming venue for you and your partner, click on the bells for more info about weddings at First Church.
Open and Affirming Covenant
(By vote of the congregation on October 4, 1992)
We, the members of First Congregational Church in Williamstown, Massachusetts, recognizing our need and desire to be a household of God where people may enter, be welcomed, and grow in the body of Christ, covenant with God and one another to receive and accept persons as members, employees and friends without fear, prejudice or discrimination due to race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith tradition, nationality, marital status, physical condition, or financial situation. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk.12:31); to do for others as we would have them do for us (Matt.7:12); and to not be judgmental or contemptuous of others (Matt.7:1, Lk.18:9-14). As we seek to embody this character of love and accceptance, we further realize in our lives the proclamation of Christ we claim whenever we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Lk.4:18-19)