RESOLUTION ON HOMOSEXUALS AND THE LAW
[Adopted by the Council for Christian Social Action, United Church of Christ, April 12, 1969]
About the UCC’s LGBTQ+ Ministries
The message of love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. Open and Affirming (ONA) ministries and resources are rooted in that Gospel message. The testimonies of these ministries proclaim the truth of God’s power to transform cultures of hate and violence into communities of healing and reconciliation. They give witness to God’s continuing testament and how the gifts of God are being liberated for service in the world.
The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBTQ people did so in 1969. The Council for Christian Social Action, a predecessor body to Justice andWitness Ministries adopted the “Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law.” In 1972, the UCC ordained the first openly gay person into ministry, the Rev. William R. Johnson. In 1985, the UCC’s General Synod declared itself to be “open and affirming” and called upon all settings of the church to become similarly poised to welcome LGBTQ persons as full members of the church. Click here for a timeline.
Although not everyone in the UCC is of the same mind concerning human sexuality*, the Open and Affirming (ONA) movement for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons continues to spread throughout all aspects of our denomination’s life and witness. There are now more than 1,700 ONA churches and increasingly, the values that shape the ministry and witness of UCC as we live out the UCC mission to love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all.
A Note on UCC Polity:
The LGBTQ ministries of the national setting of the UCC is guided by a significant body of resolutions adopted by the General Synod of the UCC, the representative governance body of the national setting. In the UCC, the local church is the basic unit of mission and it has autonomy to determine its own mission as it discerns God’s call. In other words, the UCC is not organized in a hierarchical way and the actions of the General Synod are not binding on UCC local churches or other UCC settings. It is our commitment to be in covenantal relationship with each other that binds us together as a denomination, however, this means there is some diversity among UCC members, local churches, and other settings regarding “Open and Affirming,” sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.