During our Easter worship service the congregation completed a consensus-based ritual to confirm their desire to become a designated Open and Affirming church for LGBTQ+ individuals and families. Each member came forward to weave a rainbow ribbon onto the flower-covered Easter cross as a sign and symbol of their individual commitment to an open and affirming faith and church. Then each person took a rainbow colored heart-shaped lapel pin from the communion table as a sign and symbol of their commitment to live out the resurrected radical love of Christ publicly within the church and in the world. Finally, Rev. Dr. Jenny Whitcher offered anointing with Prophetic Blessing anointing oil, that each person "would be transformed and transforming in sharing the resurrected radical love of Christ." To complete this ritual and confirm the congregation's collective commitment to being an Open and Affirming church, together we read aloud the below Open and Affirming Statement written by the congregation:
"Evergreen Christian Church affirms and celebrates LGTBTQ+ individuals and families to be authentically who they are. We invite all to join in life’s faith journey, to serve together, and to create a safe haven for the marginalized. Together, we will continue to seek to understand the challenges of the Church to live out the mission of Christ in the world."
At the suggestion of one of the members, Chris Lambrecht, we will leave the rainbow cross up in the sanctuary through the Easter season (through June 9th), so that those who couldn't be with us on Easter can participate in the Open and Affirming confirmation ritual during Sunday worship in the near future.
If you would like to participate in this ritual on a particular Sunday, please let the pastor know before worship by either emailing the preacher of the week in advance, or letting them know the day of during fellowship some time before worship begins.
We have a few photos of this O&A confirmation ritual on our website.
Rev. Dr. Jenny Whitcher
Minister of Prophetic Formation at Juniper Formation. Currently working with Evergreen Christian Church to rebirth their ministry as more missional, inclusive, and community engaged. Join us on our Open & Affirming journey.