By Rachel L. Chapman
“No matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” is the United Church of Christ tagline used by many UCC churches. On Sunday, January 29, 2017, that tagline took on deeper meaning for Christian Fellowship Congregational Church of San Diego, UCC, as the congregation voted to become Accessible to All and Open and Affirming. Obtaining the Open and Affirming designation will make Christian Fellowship the first predominantly African American church in the Southern California Nevada Conference to do so.
The Christian Fellowship Inclusion Team combined the two designations, Open and Affirming and Accessible to All to encompass inclusion of all of God’s children. The Team had been working since 2015 to provide opportunities for adequate, factual information through programs; conversations in various church committee meetings and theological information disseminated during Bible study, in the Pastor’s notes and from the pulpit, in order for the whole congregation to be able to make an informed decision when the vote was called. The motion passed overwhelmingly in favor. In part, the newly approved Accessible to All and Open and Affirming Statement forChristian Fellowship Congregational Church (UCC) reads:
As a community of Christ we believe that all persons are children of God, created in God’s image, and affirm the inherent value, worth and dignity of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities, without regard to one’s marital status, family structure, faith and educational background, economic and social standing, mental and physical ability, military or civilian status. No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here…
The congregation recognizes that the passage of this motion is just the beginning and there is still work to do physically and attitudinally, especially regarding Accessible to All. The Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit, developed by UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM.org) will continue to be addressed by the Trustee Board, various committees and the Inclusion Team. Although this will be a continuous journey, the desire and commitment to move forward was made clear with the successful vote.
So, make a plan to visit and worship at Christian Fellowship’s Sunday morning service or Sunday evening Jazz Vespers soon. You are welcome here!