Open and Affirming
As a member of the UCC movement of Open and Affirming Churches, First Church welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and men to our community of faith, and affirms the full inclusion of all God's people in the life and ministry of the church. Our congregation also strongly supports the civil right of all free and consenting adults to marry, and we gladly offer our sanctuary and our ministers to all who wish to be married here.
After prayerful reflection, the lay leaders of First Church in 2004 publicly declared support for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision affirming the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Church leaders also stood in opposition to any attempts to limit those rights through an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution. Mary Luti, who was at the time First Church Senior Minister, wrote on behalf of the church leadership in May 2004, giving public voice to our advocacy:
“As followers of Jesus, we believe that we are commanded to 'seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness' in which the first are last, and the last, first; and so we are also bound to love and respect all people, to practice radical hospitality, and to stand with all who suffer indignity, injustice and violence in any form.
“As people of the Bible, we rejoice in its diverse wisdom, we recognize its emphatic trajectory of justice and compassion, and we experience its liberating and reconciling power; and so we are bound to resist employing particular texts of Scripture to condemn, divide, discriminate, or deny equal protection under the law.
“As members of the United Church of Christ, we believe that God is a living God, that God is always doing a new thing, and that God is still speaking; and so we are bound always to be listening, alert for new words that lead us in new directions of justice and generosity.”
First Church continued to advocate for the extension of same-sex marriage recognition, and celebrated the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made marriage gender neutral in every state. The current Senior Minister Rev. Daniel Smith’s comments on the ruling can be found attached at the bottom of this page, in a sermon entitled, "10 Days in June."
First Church Statement of Openness and Affirmation
In 1991, this statement was adopted by First Church in its decision to become an Open and Affirming congregation:
This statement was adopted at the end of a congregational discernment process on January 27, 1991
WHEREAS, "In Christ Jesus we are all children of God, through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:26, 28); and
WHEREAS, we believe that our value as human beings is given to us by God, and that God calls us to relate to each other as whole persons, with love, responsibility, accountability, trust, and mutual nurture; and to work for justice and wholeness in the world; and
WHEREAS, we recognize that our individual and collective fears or prejudices about other people are dispelled by the grace of God and the commandment to love our neighbors; and
WHEREAS, our Covenant Testimony calls us to foster community across every barrier and division;
1 We declare that First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, U.C.C. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an open and affirming congregation which does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, economic class, marital status, or physical/psychological differences; that we welcome all who would participate with us in Christ's mission; and
2 We commit ourselves to the struggle against homophobia, racism, and all individual and systemic attitudes and acts of injustice, discrimination, violence, and hatred that work against peace and wholeness.