On Sunday, January 25 Sun Lakes United Church of Christ voted to become an Open and Affirming Congregation. It began the process in January 2014 by forming a committee that involved learning about the ways they could become more inclusive and welcoming of LGBT people.
Within the United Church of Christ denomination there has been a strong effort to widen the welcome to people who may have been excluded by the church or hurt by the church because of their sexual orientation. Sun Lakes UCC was already a very friendly church and offered hospitality, as their motto says, “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!” The O&A committee, along with Pastor Vernon Meyer, PhD, led the congregation through the process and invited the congregation to pray and discern what welcoming of LGBT people would mean for their community. The vote was overwhelmingly in support of the resolution that in part states: “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, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental situation, economic or marital status.” Sun Lakes UCC holds their services on Sunday mornings at 11:15 a.m. in the Sun Lakes Chapel at 9240 Sun Lakes Blvd., Sun Lakes, AZ 85248; its website is www.chandler-sunlakesucc.org and its phone number is 480-895-6317.