Bucks County Herald

Salem U.C.C. official Open and Affirming congregation

Salem United Church of Christ in Doylestown is now an “Open and Affirming” congregation, according to the Rev. David Green, pastor.

The designation is granted in the United Church of Christ denomination to churches that adopt a policy of welcoming people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Salem has long been a welcoming place for our LGBTQ members and friends, but this is a major step in our progression as a church,” Green said. “Being Open and Affirming means we’re more intentional about making extravagant hospitality for all persons a focus as our church grows and serves our community.”

To become Open and Affirming, the congregation underwent a months-long process of education, Bible study, and special programs and forums. The process culminated in a congregational meeting in November, when members voted to implement a Welcoming Covenant.

“Historically, many churches have been unwelcoming to LGBTQ persons due to a particular way of interpreting the Bible, and the assumption that being straight is the only way to have a right relationship with God,” said Green.

“That perspective has caused significant and unnecessary pain and suffering. LGBTQ folks and their family members and friends have left the church in droves.

“It’s tragic so many people believe there’s no place for them at church, or Christianity is inherently hostile to who they are as a person, or they can’t be authentic for fear of condemnation. At Salem, we believe that since Jesus welcomed all, so should we.

“We’re a faith community where everyone knows they are beloved by God, just the way they were created by God. Being an Open and Affirming church proclaims that good news loud and clear.”

Salem U.C.C. is located at 186 E. Court St., Doylestown. Call 215-348-9869 or visit salemstrong.org for information.

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