Open and Affirming

Marge Harris

Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians, verses 12:4-27, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another,” and “There are varieties of gifts, but it is the same God Who inspires them all.” This says to me that we are created to be unique persons. I wonder why humanity often expects to see a “neighbor” who is just like “me.” How boring life would be without differences! And if we did not acknowledge our differences, what would our lives be missing? The skills and abilities I am missing have to come from someone whom God had endowed with that gift. We need each other.

At Sun Lakes United Church of Christ (SLUCC), we say, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here,” and we mean it. We must learn from each other, support each other, and be able to function as one—as the Body of Christ.

In June Sun Lakes United Church of Christ celebrates welcoming and respecting differences. SLUCC is celebrating our ninth year of being an Open and Affirming congregation. We believe that all people are children of God, and though we are each individuals, we recognize that we are all created in the image of God. When two or more people gather in the name of Christ, we become one in the Body of Christ.

We believe that each person must walk their own journey of life, and each of us has the responsibility to support and help each other along that journey. We do this by giving our wholehearted and unconditional love, friendship, and support, regardless of who each of us is, was, or where our individual journeys of life take us.

We believe that each person is unique and valuable, and it is our hope that every person belongs to a family of faith where they have a strong sense of being valued and loved. Our Open and Affirming Pledge says, “We are committed to the struggle for justice, love, and inclusiveness for All People. … All are invited to participate in the full life of the Church.” Our Open and Affirming statement affirms that we are committed to extend an extravagant welcome to each and every person we meet or who comes to our church, regardless of national origin, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental situation, and economic or marital status.

I see SLUCC as “Open.” I see us warmly welcoming all who come in through the door. I see us supporting any member who needs to be loved. I see us enjoying being together. I am proud to be a member of an Open and Affirming church.