the Open and Affirming Ministries program of GLAD to express
interest in the O&A program. The O&A Ministries team will
send a packet of information to assist in the process and provide
the names of local resources.
a core group to guide the congregation through the discernment
process. The team should be composed of those already supportive of
becoming an open and affirming congregation and should include
persons of diverse gender and sexual identities.
the congregation's readiness to engage in the process and plan a
strategy based on the needs of the congregation, the support of the
leadership, and the decision making .
the vision to an official leadership body of the congregation (i.e.
Church Board or Elders). It is important to inform the ministerial
staff of plans and ask for their support in addressing the church
leadership as well as their participation in the process. However,
it is important that the process of becoming O&A not be seen as
a clergy-sponsored activity.
as a congregation to complete the O&A process. Perhaps include
this as part of a worship service or congregational meeting at the
beginning of the process.
in a study about inclusion, gender, and sexuality. The GLAD
O&A Ministries Program will be glad to suggest resources.
for members of the church how the church’s decision-making process
works. Will your congregation need to vote or will this be a process
of reaching consensus?
a task force to write an open and affirming statement that clearly
specifies that persons of ALL gender and sexual identities are
welcome in the membership, leadership, and employment of the
congregation and will be afforded equal protections and benefits.
The GLAD O&A Ministries Program strongly urges that this be part
of an overall mission statement so that the congregation will not be
voting on JUST the inclusion of persons of diverse gender and sexual
that at least 85 percent of the congregation is supportive through a
straw poll. Survey Monkey is a great resource for this poll.
less than 85 percent is supportive, stop and spend more time
studying and building relationships.
85 percent or more is supportive, proceed to the discussion of the
open and affirming statement.
the discussion of the open and affirming statement, and following
its own established processes for decision-making, the congregation
should formally adopt the statement. It is recommended that if a
vote is taken, that the resolution pass 85 percent or greater.
Support. It is also recommended that there be at least three
options: Yes, I support this decision and I am personally
supportive; Yes, I support this decision, but I can't personally
agree with this right now; No, I don't support this decision.
governing board of the congregation should ensure that its policies
concerning employment encourage applications from persons of ALL
gender and sexual identities and provide equal protections and
benefits for gender and sexual minorities once they are employed by
the statement is adopted and the congregation’s policies are
amended to reflect the setting’s commitment to the inclusion of
persons of all gender and sexual identities, the governing board
should publish the statement with GLAD, the General Church (via
Disciple Digest/Disciple News Service), the Regional Church (via the
regional newsletter) and the congregation’s website. The
congregation is also encouraged to publicize the decision within its
congregation should clearly brand itself as an Open and Affirming
setting through the use of the GLAD logo and the words “an open
and affirming congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of
congregation should hold a reception of some type to celebrate its
commitment to inclusivity and its witness to justice as an Open and
Affirming setting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
congregation is encouraged to include GLAD in its regular mission
congregation is encouraged to continually revisit and deepen its
commitment to being a more inclusive community of faith through
continual engagement with communities and persons who have
traditionally been marginalized and excluded from the church and in
--Adopted March 2011