The Journey to Become an Open & Affirming Non-Congregational Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ): A Suggested Process

This guideline is a suggestion for non-congregational ministries of the Christian Church.

These resources are highly recommended to all who are entering a journey towards naming a ministry Open & Affirming:

Beginning the Journey : Basic and highly recommended resources for all in the process of becoming Open & Affirming.

  1. Contact Mark Johnston, Executive Director of the Open & Affirming Ministries Program of the GLAD Alliance, at [email protected]. Mark will help you design a process tailored for your ministry.
  2. Engage a process of study and reflection, appropriate for your ministry, designed to educate and inform your staff and board about the inclusion of persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.
  3. Appoint a task force to write an Open & Affirming statement that clearly specifies that persons of all gender expressions and sexual identities are welcome in the membership, leadership, and employment of your ministry and that gender expression and sexual identity will not be used to discriminate among those whom the ministry serves.
  4. Draft employment policies that encourage employment applications from persons of all gender expressions and sexual identities and guarantee equal evaluation, compensation, and protection to all.
  5. In a manner appropriate to your ministry, draft policies that call for equal treatment and respect among those you serve. For instance, a school or seminary is expected to have a student code of conduct that calls for respectful and equal treatment of persons of all gender expressions and sexual identities.
  6. Ensure that at least 85 percent of your board is supportive of the Open & Affirming statement and draft policies through a straw poll. (Survey Monkey is a great resource for this poll. https://www.surveymonkey.com/)
    • If less than 85 percent is supportive, stop and spend more time studying and building relationships.
    • If 85 percent or more is supportive, proceed to the discussion of the Open & Affirming statement.
  7. Make room for discussion among your board members (or appropriate decision making body) of the Open & Affirming statement and policies.
  8. Adopt the Open & Affirming statement and policies in a formal board action.

Once the statement is adopted:

  1. Make your ministry’s Open & Affirming witness public and further the mission of the Open & Affirming Ministry Program by:
    • Publishing the statement with GLAD, the General Church (via Disciple Digest/Disciple News Service), the Regional Church (via the regional newsletter) as appropriate, your website, your newsletter, and through other appropriate means.
    • Proclaiming yourself an Open & Affirming Ministry through the use of the GLAD logo and the words “an Open & Affirming Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” on your website and printed materials.
    • Regularly revisiting and deepening your commitment to being a more inclusive ministry through engagement with communities and persons who have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from the church and in society.
    • Supporting GLAD financially and/or in other ways.
  2. Confirm your Open & Affirming commitment with GLAD by sending a letter or email from the board chair:
    • requesting placement on GLAD’s Open & Affirming webpage,
    • describing the process that brought the board to consensus and confirming the board’s adoption of an Open & Affirming statement,
    • describing how the ministry intends to make its Open & Affirming status public on its website, printed materials, and other places, and
    • affirming its support of GLAD through a financial pledge or other support,

    along with a copy of your Open & Affirming statement and your employment non-discrimination policy and other policies such as a student code, if separate from your Open & Affirming statement, to [email protected].

And don’t forget to celebrate in worship and fellowship your new commitment to inclusivity and justice as an Open & Affirming setting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).