Our Covenant of Openness and Affirmation
This is an invitation:
We know, with Jesus, that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that those neighbors include all human beings - encompassing our families, our Church, all other churches and faiths, and the world at large.
We also know that both society and the larger community of faith have often scorned, excluded, attempted "cures", and condemned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Bible, and in the name of religious doctrine.
We know that Mayflower Church has been very public in its determination to be a reconciling force between gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as they are and the church, welcoming all people whatever their sexual orientation - not as doing something new, but as doing something very old, harkening back to the early church's radical hospitality.
We know, like the Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 8:26, that the answer to the eternal question "What is to prevent me from being baptized?" - an answer learned steadily over the centuries from one outcast group to the next: first Gentiles, then women, then African Americans, then the poor, the disabled, and now lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people - is the luminous center of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: "Nothing prevents it."
We know, like the Syrophoenician Woman of Mark 7:24, that there is a wideness in God's Mercy that - merely by asking for it - brings God's love to all people, not just to those who think they are in God's good graces, but to all of us, which must include God's gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender children just the same.
We know that across the land, in every church, large and small, and in every denomination, people of good will are struggling with the gospel's revolutionary inclusiveness as it relates to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. We recognize that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can be just as loving, just as faithful, just as disciplined, just as holy as all other people can be, and that they equally share with all other human beings the worth that comes from being unique individuals. We seek to encourage all people and churches to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into the full sacramental hospitality of the church.
So it is that we publicly, reverently, and happily issue a Welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as they are, to join our congregation in the same spirit of neighborly love as we welcome and accept all new members. We covenant not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. We seek to include those who find themselves in exile from the community of faith because of their orientation. We actively encourage churches and secular government bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination. And we join together to celebrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed all created by God, reconciled by Christ, and empowered by the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
On April 8, 2001, the Mayflower Church Board of Deacons unanimously adopted the above "Our Covenant of Openness and Affirmation" for presentation to the Congregation at the 2001 Annual Meeting. Your Board of Deacons requested that all members read and reflect on the Statement, and urged passage of the Statement by the congregation at the Annual Meeting. In November of 2001 the congregation adopted the resolution put before them by the Deacons with a unanimous vote. Facts about Open and Affirming Statements in the United Church of Christ are found here.