Open and Affirming (ONA)

The Congregational United Church of Christ (CUCCVC) is an Open and Affirming (ONA) church and is recognized as such with the ONA Coalition of the United Church of Christ.  We have made a commitment to welcome all people into our church; a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, race, financial status, or physical/emotional ability does not determine entry into the CUCCVC.

  • To achieve ONA status with the United Church of Christ, a congregation must explore what ONA means to its members.
    • The process can take up to a year and involves learning about the LBGTQ culture through guest speakers, readings, and discussion led by an ONA committee comprised of five to six church members.
      • The committee also drafts a covenant explaining how and why their church constitutes an ONA place of worship.
    • The journey ends with a congregational vote in which members decide whether or not they want to formally announce to the world that they are ONA.
      • The covenant is then introduced to the congregation.
    • The CUCCVC is proud that our ONA status is the result of a unanimous vote which took place in March 2017.

Our covenant reads as follows:

The Valley City Congregational United Church of Christ welcomes you into our family.  What do we mean when we say we are a family?

  • Does it mean we only want you if you conform to our expectations? This is true in some families but not our family.
  • Does it mean we will not accept you because of your sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions? This is true in some families but not our family.
  • Does it mean we only accept certain races, ethnic backgrounds, or nationalities? This is true in some families but not our family.
  • Does it mean we only accept those of a certain financial status? This is true in some families but not our family.
  • Does it mean we only accept able-bodied persons, free of physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities? This is true in some families but not our family.

 This is what is true in our family:

  • Our family accepts you for who you are, as you are, in this and any moment.
  • Like other families, our family has values. We value the wisdom of other traditions, communal worship, and social justice action inclusive of the earth and all living things. 
  • As a beloved community of the people of God, we enjoy each other’s company as we work, play, and study together to continue as followers of our Lord Jesus.
  • We understand that families do not always agree despite their love and concern for one another. Hence, our family strives to settle differences of opinion with respect and understanding.

 Welcome to our family.

 

For more information on ONA, visit the following websites:

http://www.ucc.org/lgbt_ona

 

  •  September ONA Reading
    • Click the link to view the reading.
  • December 2017 Happenings:
    • Our ONA committee has been busy the past few months.  A new banner that affirms our ONA mission was placed in front of the church this fall.
    • Each month, a committee member shares a reading that pertains to our ONA mission and statement.
      • Our November reading addressed the high rate of suicide and depression amongst transgender adolescents.
      • The December reading discussed how people label others and how this narrows our understanding of each person as an individual; instead, we ascribe whatever label seems fitting for a person then believe h/she possesses all of the characteristics that belong to that label.
      • To see a video of the December reading, please follow this link:  (Sorry for poor quality!!) https://www.facebook.com/connie.reiten.1/videos/g.160879463967508/10203714061688341/?type=2&ifg=1
      • View the PDF of the reading: ona reading, dec. 31
    • Our annual church fundraising dinner took place in October.  The ONA committee had pamphlets and brochures containing information on what it means to be an ONA church.  A committee member was also on-hand to answer any questions.
    • Our congregation can look forward to speakers sharing their messages at Sunday services in the near future.
      • The ONA committee hopes to promote a better understanding of all cultures through such presentations.
  • April 2018 Happenings
    • The readings for the first months of 2018 are as follows:
    • We are hoping to install all gender, handicapped accessible bathrooms within the next two years.
      • Other remodeling projects are already scheduled for 2018, but preliminary discussions have taken place for such an addition.
    • The ONA committee surveyed our congregation, asking how we can improve/maintain its ONA presence within our church.
      • The following questions were asked:
        • 1.  Would you like ONA topics incorporated into our sermons.  If so, what specific topics would you like addressed?  ANSWERS: The majority would like ONA topics as part of our sermons addressing such issues as inclusiveness, justice, accepting others as they are w/o judgment, and how to proceed as an ONA church.
        • 2.  If a speaker is asked to address the ONA process, would you like that done as part of our service?  ANSWERS: The majority of our members would like speakers to visit during services, so we are hoping to include invited guests to address the congregation at that time.
        • 3.  Name other ways the committee can address and educate the congregation: ANSWERS – monthly readings, short films and/or videos, reading list
    • Last, thank you to the chair of the ONA committee, Susan Kringlie, for submitting a report on the year’s activities for our annual meeting.  The report can be viewed here: 2017 ona annual report
  • Spring 2019 Reading
  • Spring 2020 Hi-Liners United