OUR STORY

More information about our story


OPEN & AFFIRMING

OUR OPEN & AFFIRMING RESOLUTION​​​​​​​

“We, the members of the First Congregational Church of Bellingham, United Church of Christ, publicly resolve:


We believe in a loving God, who embraces the dignity, worth, and sacredness of every person. We believe God loves all persons without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, economic or social status, and sexual orientation. We believe we are created in God’s image and are called upon to accept and understand our humanity and diversity as gifts from God. We recognize that the institutional church has often judged persons based upon their sexual orientation, and has excluded these persons from the community of faith.


The church has often been silent concerning societal injustice. Therefore, we covenant to welcome and affirm every person, without regard to sexual orientation, into the full life, rites, and ministry of our church.  We commit ourselves to act for justice and inclusiveness. 


Together, God at our center, we covenant to be an Open and Affirming church community. We pray, as those who follow Christ, for the capacity to envision life as it could be and, with the help of God, to unite ourselves across our differences and to treat all with respect, dignity, love, compassion and justice.”


This statement was approved by congregational vote on March 14, 1999. A January 13, 2008 congregational vote approved the present language with the understanding that “rites” include marriage rites.

JUST PEACE

OUR JUST PEACE DECLARATION

Jesus taught and lived a new reality he referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God’. God’s reign was already present in our world, IF we just shifted our perception; recognized it; and lived in God’s domain now. Jesus invited his disciples then, and invites us today, to a life of Peace and Justice; a ‘Just Peace’ rooted in the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’ – a sense of wholeness for each person and for our planet.


Jesus invites us to a life of….


  • Service to our neighbor
  • Radical Hospitality
  • Peace making
  • Restorative and Economic Justice
  • Stewardship of our Planet
  • and the Building of Community for the Journey.


Our chosen Methods are the Practices of:

Hope; Unconditional Love; Forgiveness; Non-Violence and Reconciliation.


In living out Shalom as a Just Peace church we covenant as a bold faith community, to reflect Jesus’ radical love as an Open and Affirming church. No matter where you are on life’s journey, personally, a Just Peace church declaration encourages us as individuals and as a faith community to educate, grow, empower, and spiritually renew ourselves for peace making, doing justice, and practicing sustainability in our families, community and world. Where there is justice, there is peace.


We are called as a Just Peace church to…


  • Stand with and advocate for, all who experience injustice and violence; the hungry, sick, poor, elderly, homeless, neglected, exploited, marginalized and discouraged…
  • Partner with religious and community groups who advocate for justice and peace…
  • Root out the causes of injustice and violence within the social structures of our society to bring about systemic change and healing…
  • Create a spiritual home of renewal and nurture for all those who do peace and social justice work in the world, at their jobs or as volunteers, sharing each others’ joy and burdens.


By declaring ourselves a Just Peace church, we live into our congregation’s purpose statement: “Welcoming All, Growing in Faith, Living God’s Love, Justice, Compassion

HISTORY

HISTORY

In 1999, we approved a statement marking us as an Open and Affirming congregation resolving to “welcome and affirm every person, without regard to sexual orientation, into the full life, rites, and ministry of our church.”


In 2013, we became a Just Peace church in a declaration encouraging “us as individuals and as a faith community to educate, grow, empower, and spiritually renew ourselves for peace making, doing justice, and practicing sustainability in our families, community and world.”


For over 30 years we have partnered with the Interfaith Coalition, an organization providing services to the homeless. 

We remain involved in our community: giving regularly to service organizations, collecting food for the Bellingham Food Bank, and serving at the Community Meal (link to page).


In June 2016, we voted to partner with Northwest Youth Services to provide for homeless youth. We are excited to continue serving God and our community in new and exciting ways in the future. We hope you will be a part of it!