Open and Affirming

St. Matthew has been designated as
Open and Affirming by the United Church of Christ.

We believe that God is love. Following the example of Jesus, we strive to live by the great commandments to love the Lord our God with all our heart, strength, soul and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves.

We affirm that our neighbors are people of all races, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, family configurations, sexual orientations, gender identities and economic conditions.

 

In Christ’s love, each person is welcome into the full life and ministry of our church. No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome and accepted here.

Suggestions for Further Reading, from Pastor Allen

The Bible, Disability, and the Church:  A New Vision of the People of God - by Amos Yong
Written by one whose brother had Down's syndrome. One of the best studies of Biblical text and stories that have shaped  how Christians see and respond to those with disabilities. He examines the stigma of disabilities in the church.

 

The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability - by Nancy Eiesland

This is a somewhat more theological book and offers a new image of a God who embraces disability. It highlights the hidden history of people with disability in church and society.

 

Church Diversity: Sunday, The Most Segregated Day of the Week - by Scott Williams

Written by a black conservative evangelical religious leader, this book exposes the divide in the typical church on Sunday mornings across America. He looks at the Biblical story to offer direction for the church to become more racially diverse.

 

Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches

Edited by Walter Wink - A collection of articles by various Christians, scholars, and pastors on Biblical perspectives and personal experiences. Includes both more progressive and more conservative perspectives.

 

The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-Sex Relationships - by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley (2002)

Two conservative Christians who take the Bible seriously make a Biblical argument for acceptance of homosexuality.

 

Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America - by Mel White

This is a reflection by a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell and speech writer for Oliver North, a trusted insider for the religious right. He talks about twenty-five years of being counseled, exorcised, electric-shocked, prayed for, and nearly driven to suicide because his church said homosexuality was wrong.  But his salvation - to be openly gay and Christian - is more than a unique coming-out story.  It is a chilling expose that goes into the secret meetings and hidden agendas of the religious right.