What is an “Open and Affirming” Church?
First Churches has been a forerunner in welcoming LGBTQ+ people into the life of the church. In 1996, the congregation went through a year-long study process and voted to officially be a welcoming congregation to all people, no exceptions! To us this means much more than hanging a rainbow flag and sign that says “All Are Welcome!” We work to make our worship language, leadership structures, pastoral care and advocacy to be inclusive as well.
You can read our original statement below, and we have some great audio recordings of what our members have to say about being an inclusive church.
For more info on the Open and Affirming movement with the UCC, visit openandaffirming.org
~ STATEMENT OF WELCOME ~
APPROVED BY CONGREGATIONAL VOTE IN 1996
We, the members of The First Baptist Church of Northampton and The First Church of Christ in Northampton, together known as “The First Churches”, invite into our fellowship and membership all persons who love God and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, without regard to such differences as race, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, sexual orientation, economic status, marital status, level of education, or any other difference that may be misunderstood as a barrier to Christian fellowship. We further welcome all who seek God, and we express our sincerest hope that in fellowship with the community of faith they may find the answers for which they search.
Supreme Court Legalizes Marriage Equality – July 5, 2015
When we heard the news that the Supreme Court had affirmed Marriage Equality, First Churches organized a celebration on the front steps of the church. The following Sunday, several members reflected on the meaning of the day to them. You can hear their inspiring words by clicking on the recording below: