The Sunnyslope Church, dually affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and the United Church of Christ, voted this fall to become an Open and Affirming congregation. According to the bylaws of the congregation, a two-thirds majority was needed to pass the proposal. That threshold was easily exceeded.
The designation as an Open and Affirming congregation means that we declare ourselves to be open to, and affirming of, a wide variety of our society. That is made clear by the statement that was approved to appear in our newsletter and on our website, as well as on our Facebook page and Twitter account. That statement is as follows:
The Sunnyslope Church continues the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together. We are a Christian community, called by Jesus to be inclusive, caring and peace-minded. We affirm that people of any race, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, diverse abilities, economic status, faith tradition or life situation are welcome in our congregation. We believe in compassionate service, stewardship of creation, respect for diversity and nonviolent reconciliation of differences among all people, nations and faith traditions. We claim no creed but the New Testament, as exemplified by the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, we strive to follow the way of Jesus. Through these efforts we seek to grow ever closer to the mind and heart of God.
A second statement was also approved to be included in our weekly bulletins:
• Come as you are.
• No dress code.
• No judgment.
• No discriminations.
• No distinctions.
So bring your doubts, questions and busy kids. God does not reject people. Neither do we. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome to full participation in all areas of our congregational life and ministry.
At the Sunnyslope Church we do not put a period where God has placed a comma, because we believe that God is still speaking and we are still learning what it means to live in Jesus’ realm of love, compassion and justice.
This as our witness to the unconditional love of God. We identify ourselves as a “Living Peace Church” and that requires us to act on our faith. We invite you to join us on the journey.
More information is available on our website at sunnyslopechurchwa.org.
Like us on www.Facebook.com/SunnyslopeChurchWA
Follow us on Twitter@SunnyslopeChurchWA
Mike Titus is pastor of Sunnyslope Church.