On Sunday, September 22, 2019, South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, voted unanimously to become an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, welcoming “all persons, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people and those exploring their gender identity and expression.”
According to the congregation’s senior pastor Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly, “South Congregational Church’s founding members envisioned our church to be the ‘moral and intellectual center’ of the village. Our commitment to being open and affirming of the LGBTQ+ community reflects these spiritual values in our time and place. In a time of incivility and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, perpetrated by many Christian churches, our church’s goal is to be a community where all are pilgrims and none are strangers.”
The congregation’s open and affirming statement, approved unanimously by the congregation, reads:
“At South Congregational Church, we believe that all people are made in the image of God. We embrace and cherish every person and every kind of family. God’s love and grace are extended abundantly and equally to all. We seek to follow the example of Jesus Christ by welcoming everyone into our worship, our fellowship and our leadership, regardless of gender, sexual identity, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, race or life circumstances. ALL are welcome.
We declare that we are open to all persons, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people and those exploring their gender identity and expression. We celebrate that our community is more complete when it reflects the diversity of God’s creation. We enter into this covenant with conviction, faith and joy.”