Open and Affirming


St. John’s Welcoming Statement


As a community of faith, St. John’s United Church of Christ seeks to embody the words  “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, our deep desire is to meet you where you are and share God’s love with you.” We are committed to including in the full life and ministry of St. John’s persons from all walks of life, regardless of race, nationality, age, gender identification or expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, or socio-economic level. Acknowledging that we each have been created in God’s image, we celebrate diversity as one of God’s finest gifts.



St. John’s United Church of Christ in Lansdale officially claimed our identity as an “Open and Affirming” (ONA) congregation in 2015.  




YOU are created in the image of GOD!


From the United Church of Christ 🌈


Above: Graphic of the updated (2023) LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag, which has a rainbow made of horizontal lines of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Overlapping triangles of black, brown, light blue, pink, white, and gold and a purple circle in the gold triangle represent the people of color and trans & non-binary people, and intersex people whose leadership in the fight for equal rights is too often erased.


Did you know?  Our United Church of Christ denomination has a special Facebook page for discussion of issues of interest to the Christian LGBTQIA (initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and allies) community.  Click to connect to the UCC LGBTQ Ministries Facebook page


Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. St. John’s UCC Lansdale is proud to claim this designation as an Open and Affirming congregation!



Trans-Nonbinary Pastoral Letter



The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the UCC, and equips UCC congregations to become effective witnesses to Christ’s extravagant welcome. Click here for more about UCC Open & Affirming churches



There is a library in Montgomery County specifically to serve the information needs of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, sponsored by a neighboring UCC church. The library is open 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays in the Love in Action United Church of Christ building at 350 South York Road, Hatboro when the SAGA (Sexual and Gender Acceptance) group meets there.  This is about 30 minutes east of the Lansdale area.  The library’s collection include books on religion and spirituality, parenting resources — both for parents whose child has come out as LGBT, as well as on parenting in general, self-help topics, exploring gender identity and adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction. Poetry, relationship styles and children’s books are also available.  For more information, call the SAGA Center at 215-675-8808 or go to or



Our United Church of Christ denomination is a leader in seeking justice on issues affecting the LGBTQIA community and beyond.  Please go to the UCC Justice website for the latest discussion on the important issues of today.  Click this link to the UCC LGBT Issues, Ministries and Concerns Website:



Our St. John’s Mission Statement: “As a community of learners and seekers, created in God’s image and called to follow Christ, we the members of St. John’s United Church of Christ: honor our past while looking to the future with hope and living fully in the present; commit ourselves to proclaiming the Good News of Christ through our words and actions, both within this faith community and beyond; seek to reach out to persons from all walks of life, affirming and celebrating diversity as one of God’s finest gifts. as we journey together, we seek to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, keenly aware of our connections to one another and convinced of the grace, mercy and justice of a gentle loving God.”


In 2003, General Synod affirmed “the participation and ministry of transgender people” in the United Church of Christ and pledged support for “their civil and human rights.” Acting on this resolution, the UCC’s national officers and the Open and Affirming Coalition urge congregations and other settings of our church to stand publicly with our transgender members and neighbors in this urgent time, and whenever and wherever their dignity as human beings and their basic rights as citizens are threatened.  The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Mak Kneebone, President, Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC


Click the LGBTQ link below for additional UCC Resources: 



Our UCC LGBTQIA Ministries Facebook page also connects to the Facebook page of the National LGBTQIA Task Force.  Click to connect to National LGBTQ Task Force Facebook page


To read the article: “Yes, Homosexuality Absolutely Is a Choice” by John Pavlovitz that was reposted by Rev. Sue on our St. John’s Facebook page:  Click to link to Huffington Post article


Special Resources:  Click Here for Link to drugwatch: LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Health & Well-being Guide


The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia is an advocate for all persons of all faiths in the Delaware Valley area.  Click for Interfaith Center website


United Church of Christ Office for LGBTQ Ministries Wider Church Ministries/Justice and Witness Ministries The Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer Executive and Minister for LGBT Ministries, HIV & AIDS, and Sexuality Education Email: Phone: 216-736-3217 Websites:  HIV & AIDS  Sexuality Education


LGBT Justice from our Conference: The PSEC

The United Church of Christ has historically been a prophetic voice advocating for the intrinsic value, equality, and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and same gender loving (SGL) persons. The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBT people did so in 1969. In 1972 the UCC ordained its first openly gay person into ministry. And in 1985 the UCC General Synod declared itself to be “Open and Affirming,” a designation welcoming LGBT persons as full members of the church. Nevertheless, LGBT citizens still face bullying, harassment, and violence, legal discrimination, and are targeted by hateful legislative efforts such as “bathroom bills.” PSEC Justice & Witness ministries not only encourages individual congregations to become Open and Affirming, but advocates for civil rights and protections for all LGBT citizens.

To learn more, visit:


Do you know anyone in any type of relationship suffering from domestic violence? There are local organizations to help.  Click for Laurel House website  Click for Women’s center of Montgomery County website   Click for Victims Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc.


Resolution Calling on UCC Congregations to Covenant as Open and Affirming


WHEREAS, the Apostle Paul said that, as Christians, we are many members, but we are one body in Christ (Rom. 12:4), and Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk. 12:31) without being judgmental (Mt. 7:1-2) nor disparaging of others (Lk. 18:9-14); and WHEREAS, recognizing that many persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation are already members of the Church through baptism and confirmation and that these people have talents and gifts to offer the United Church of Christ, and that the UCC has historically affirmed a rich diversity in its theological and Biblical perspectives; and WHEREAS, the Tenth through Fourteenth General Synods have adopted resolutions encouraging the inclusion, and affirming the human rights, of lesbian, gay and bisexual people within the UCC; and WHEREAS, the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ adopted in 1980 “a program of Equal Employment Opportunity which does not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of… sexual orientation”; and WHEREAS, many parts of the Church have remained conspicuously silent despite the continuing injustice of institutionalized discrimination, instances of senseless violence and setbacks in civil rights protection by the Supreme Court; and WHEREAS, the Church has often perpetuated discriminatory practices and has been unwilling to affirm the full humanness of clergy, laity and staff with lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation, who experience isolation, ostracism and fear of (or actual) loss of employment; and WHEREAS, we are called by Christ’s example, to proclaim release to the captives and set at liberty the oppressed (Lk. 4:18); and WHEREAS, examples of covenant of Openness and Affirmation and Non-discrimination Policy may be found in the following:  Example 1:  Covenant of openness and affirmation  We know, with Paul, that as Christians, we are many members, but are one body in Christ, members of one another, and that we all have different gifts. With Jesus, we affirm that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, that we are called to act as agents of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the Church itself.


We know that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are often scorned by the church, and devalued and discriminated against both in the Church and in society. We commit ourselves to caring and concern for lesbian, gay and bisexual sisters and brothers by affirming that:  We believe that lesbian, gay and bisexual people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals,  We welcome lesbian, gay and bisexual people to join our congregation in the same spirit and manner used in the acceptance of any new members,


We recognize the presence of ignorance, fear and hatred in the Church and in our culture, and covenant to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, nor any other irrelevant factor, and we seek to include and support those who, because of this fear and prejudice, find themselves in exile from a spiritual community,


We seek to address the needs and advocate the concerns of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in our Church and in society by actively encouraging churches, instrumentalities and secular governmental bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination, and further,  We join together as a covenantal community, to celebrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed created by God, reconciled by Christ and empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit;


Example 2:  Inclusive non-discrimination policy – We do not discriminate against any person, group or organization in hiring, promotion, membership, appointment, use of facility, provision of services or funding on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, faith, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, or physical disability;


THEREFORE, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ encourages a policy of non-discrimination in employment, volunteer service and membership policy with regard to sexual orientation; encourages association conferences and all related organizations to adopt a similar policy; and encourages the congregations of the United Church of Christ to adopt a non-discrimination policy and a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay or bisexual orientation within the community of faith.  No financial implications.