Gay and Lesbian Task Force
As a denomination, the United Church of Christ has adopted an Open and Affirming position concerning our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Based on the inclusive ministry of Jesus Christ, gays and lesbians are welcome in our communities of faith as equal partners in discipleship and ministry.
In 1995, The Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ formed a Gay/Lesbian Task Force for Ministry. It was felt that only by praying and educating ourselves around issues which touch our deepest souls can we understand one another and truly join hands in Christ's name. The Task Force's goal is to accompany churches seeking to dialogue around the gay and lesbian issue; studying scripture, searching hearts and minds, attempting to discern God's will for their faith communities. Members of the Task Force prepared a comprehensive packet of materials for study and serve as resource persons to churches considering or in the midst of a dialogue.
To date, several churches in the Wisconsin Conference have voted to become Open and Affirming, others are in the process of dialogue, still others are not ready to undertake such a project.
The Task Force has compiled a starter kit with the best resources to help a church start a healthy dialogue on homosexuality. Each kit costs $35.00 and has a variety of learning styles. You can obtain a kit by sending a check to: Wisconsin Conference UCC P.O. Box 435 De Forest WI 53532.
The dialogue process offered by the Gay and Lesbian Ministry Task Force asks that you gather a group of interested, not necessarily like-minded people, into a covenant group to pray, study and talk together. The Task Force will provide a packet of resources for study, speakers from the Task Force and other churches who have undergone a similar process, and provide support and help as you work your way through the process.
Entering a dialogue does not mandate that your church must vote to become Open and Affirming although the Task Force will provide helpful counsel should you want to consider that step. If you have questions about the process itself or the possibility of your church engaging in such a dialogue, please contact the Association Minister in your area.
The LGBT Task Force has recently begun holding discussions with congregations who have adopted an Open and Affirming position.
The Wisconsin Conference UCC would like to introduce the churches who have engaged in dialogue and voted to become Open and Affirming churches. Their stories are an important witness to their ministries.
Video responses for this Q&A are listed below:
- What would you say to a congregation who is considering becoming open and affirming?
- What role did spirituality and god play in this process?
- If we are supposed to welcome all, why single out homosexuals?
- Has it helped this congregation engage in other things in a healthy way?
- What were some of your greatest fears?
- Would you change anything about the process? What resources were most helpful?
- What has happened - good or bad since becoming open and affirming?
- What were the hopes and fears of becoming open and affirming?
- Was it important in your call to Memorial Congregation that the church be willing to enter this dialogue?
- If your congregation considers itself open and affirming why does it have to be voted on?
- Why did Memorial UCC in Wisconsin decide to hold a discussion on becoming open and affirming?