Being Open & Affirming
In October 2012, by unanimous vote of the congregation, Heidelberg declared itself to be an “Open & Affirming” congregation of The United Church of Christ.
“Open & Affirming” is a designation recognized by our national church which indicates that a local church has made a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
The following is the complete text of our Open & Affirming statement:
The people of God at Heidelberg, United Church of Christ, of York, Pennsylvania, affirm our regard for the worth and dignity of all persons as beloved children of God. We recognize, celebrate, and give thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us. We declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming into full membership and participation in the Body of Christ persons of every race, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, physical or mental ability, and economic or marital status.
We acknowledge that throughout history the Christian church has often condemned and excluded gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons from the community of faith, or has condoned such condemnation and exclusion by its silence. We hold that such discrimination is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to work diligently to end all oppression and discrimination which afflict God’s people in our society. We affirm and celebrate all relationships founded on the principles of God’s love and justice.
ONA Anniversary Sunday
Each year on the second Sunday in October, Heidelberg celebrates our Open and Affirming anniversary with a special worship service and a guest speaker.
Past speakers have included The Rev. Franklyn Schaefer, author of Defrocked: How A Father’s Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church, Ammon Frances Young, then Faith Organizer at Equality PA and the vice president of the United Church of Christ Open and Affirming Coalition leadership team, Joanne Carroll, president of Trans Central PA, and members of the Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus.