Welcoming, Open, and Affirming
As a Welcoming and Affirming/Open and Affirming Church, Emmanuel Baptist Church-Friedens United Church of Christ welcomes and affirms all persons without regard to sex, marital status, age, race, sexual orientation or abilities, inviting all into membership, mission and leadership.
Emmanuel-Friedens became a Welcoming & Affirming/Open and Affirming congregation in 1998. The process of becoming W&A/ONA was a long and arduous one. Interest was expressed after Larry led a six-week Adult Christian Education series on homosexuality. A committee was established to explore the possibility of becoming Welcoming and Affirming, but it took several starts for the committee to begin its work with a sense of commitment. In 1997 a ten-week adult education course on Welcoming & Affirming was offered. On November 1, 1998, the federated congregation of Emmanuel-Friedens became a W&A/ONA congregation. Since that day, the committee and the congregation have continued to work at practicing what we preach, and at living out our statement.
Our first priority was to support GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) youth in our community. We have welcomed speakers from PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network), and Unity House-Safety Zone, a drop-in center for GLBT teens. The church has hosted both the Shower of Stoles and the Capital Pride Singers. These events have been attended by many in the community including students from area colleges. The committee has also tried to be supportive of Gay Student Associations in our local high schools, and offers a scholarship for a student who best represents the inclusiveness we strive for. Finally, Emmanuel-Friedens has adopted the Our Whole Lives sexuality education curriculum which was written by the Unitarian-Universalist Association and the UCC. In the Spring of 2002, the first class of young people graduated from the course, bringing a new generation into the welcoming family of God.
Please take a look at the list of resources available in our church library. We plan to keep our resources updated, so we invite you to check back from time to time to see what's new!
Links to some related sites:
The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns
PFLAG - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
GLSEN (pronounced "glisten") is the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network
The Shower of Stoles Project
Capital Pride Singers
Soulforce Campaign to Stop Spiritual Violence