Diaconate Letter
Used with permission from UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

Letter mailed to all Church members from the Diaconate

June 15, 2007

We, as Christians, believe God calls us to create communities that are welcoming, safe, and just, in which all citizens are treated equally. Many United Church of Christ congregations have same gender loving persons who participate fully and equally in every aspect of the church’s life and ministry. The mission and ministry of the church has been strengthened and enriched as the majority of these congregations have become among our most vital and vibrant. With the passage of the civil union bill, the State of Connecticut continues to move toward equality, becoming a state that is welcoming, safe and just for all its citizens. The Diaconate feels our church needs to do the same. To that end, the Board of Deacons prayerfully decided to support authorizing our ministers to perform civil union ceremonies in the Sanctuary and Chapel of Rocky Hill Congregational Church. We approached the Council in May of this year to seek their support of our decision. The Council, during that meeting, unanimously supported our decision.

Many of you remember the Church’s visioning process in which we engaged a few years ago. Out of that visioning process, the idea developed to pursue becoming an Open and Affirming (ONA) church. ONA is a UCC designation given to congregations who welcome persons of all sexual orientations. The Diaconate chose to start discussing what the journey toward Open and Affirming would mean to us as a congregation. We spent time talking to other churches about their process, churches that both voted to become Open and Affirming and churches that did not. We shared periodicals, books and UCC materials. Our ultimate decision is to convene a committee in September composed of members of our church who expressed an interest during the visioning process in pursuing Open and Affirming and to begin conversations about this topic with our congregation.

We are inviting those who are interested to a second hour discussion of both our decision to authorize civil unions in our church and to pursue our vision of becoming an Open and Affirming church. This second hour discussion will be held on Sunday, July 29, 2007, at 11:20 AM in the Fiorilli Room. We welcome you all.

Your Board of Deacons:


Deb Copes

Julie Dostie

Katie Hoffman-Fulda

Pat Howland

Cheryl Hummel

Bob Inderbitzen

Julia Pickett

Jean Palmer

Chris Sheehan

Barry Wilcock