In July of 2007, The Diaconate of the Rocky Hill Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, with the blessing of the Church Council, created a Committee of interested Church members to study and guide the Open and Affirming process for the Church.
To quote the Diaconate: “The desire to engage in an ONA dialogue was raised in our Visioning process almost 5 years ago. Just as other aspects of our vision have come to fruition through the energy and commitment of a “champion”, the Diaconate, after a period of consideration and research, became that champion and recommended to the Council that our church engage in an open dialogue regarding ONA – what it means and whether we wish to declare ourselves to be an ONA church.”*
A founding act of the ONA Committee was to adopt a Charter which served as its guide as it engaged in the ONA process. In addition, the Committee adopted a Behavioral Covenant to guide its meetings.
The Committee met for nearly two years in furtherance of its charge. A chronology of its work can be found by clicking HERE. Meeting Minutes are also easily accessible HERE. The four themes that the ONA committee followed is fully fleshed HERE.
In March of 2009, church members completed their two year program of study, discussion, and discernment and held in an overwhelming majority vote to adopt an Open and Affirming Statement, thereby becoming the 48th UCC congregation in Connecticut to declare that status. The text of the adopted statement is as follows:
Because we believe that all people are created in God’s image and thus are blessed and loved equally by God, and because love is a unifying and strengthening force within our Christian faith,
We, the members of the Rocky Hill Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, hereby declare ourselves an Open and Affirming Christian community, actively expressing Jesus’ inclusive embrace of all people.
We welcome all who seek to follow Jesus, including persons of every age, gender, race, national origin, faith background, marital status and family structure, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, mental and physical ability, economic and social status, and educational background, to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our church family.
Jesus teaches us to welcome all God’s children into God’s covenantal community. As we grow together in faith and love, we will strive to celebrate the diversity in which God has created us.