See you at the potluck, seriously! Saint Andrew Christian Church in Dublin, OH, is Open + Affirming

See you at the potluck, seriously! Saint Andrew Christian Church in Dublin, OH, is Open + Affirming

contributed by Melissa Guthrie, Executive Director + Minister

When Rev. Morgan Wickizer suggested that the church host a potluck to share more about being Open + Affirming and to raise funds for AllianceQ, I seriously wanted to plan a visit to Dublin, Ohio. I want to worship with the people of Saint Andrew — and try their mac ‘n cheese and deviled eggs. (Do you put bacon on your deviled eggs?)

I can see my young children running through their worship service, my five year old taking communion and even speaking a prayer or making an announcement. Charlette Gallagher-Allred is the chair of the Transformation Task Force and she described how all ages are involved in the life of the church and in age-appropriate education about love and forgiveness–and welcome and affirmation. “We don’t shy away from questions,” she said.

Having explored many questions over the past five years, Saint Andrew Christian Church has formalized and reaffirmed its welcome.

Saint Andrew has long been welcoming. A September 20, 2022, date marks its O+A anniversary; but Moderator Sue Blaine explains, “It’s been part of our approach, our heart–us–for much longer. You will have a home here. You won’t be judged. We will embrace you.

“Some churches say it,” Wickizer added. “Do they mean it and live it? We seriously do.”

The Transformation Task Force and an Open + Affirming Sub-Committee began guiding the welcoming journey in 2018. Discussion and drafts of a Welcome Statement evolved, with board and congregation approval in November 2018 and January 2019, respectively. The Task Force rested for several months after adopting its Welcome Statement but reengaged the work in late 2019, asking how and why a public proclamation and a relationship with AllianceQ were necessary. What important questions!

Former AllianceQ Interim Minister Sara Nave-Fisher reminds us that there are 4 Ps of LGBTQ+ Affirmation: Policy, Practice, Proclamation, Publicity. And we do this work in concert. We are an alliance. We are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. 

The Open + Affirming journey is… a journey.

COVID disrupted Saint Andrew’s journey but the church has implemented an employment non-discrimination policy and they have come together with community groups that use the building. Saint Andrew Scout troops are affirming and inclusive in their leadership and youth participation! Saint Andrew pledges financial support of AllianceQ and our church-wide ministry. And they may be hosting that potluck!

When we discussed the formality of an O+A anniversary date, Wickizer noted, “It’s messy because it’s a process.”

AllianceQ celebrates the intentionality, patience, integrity, and faithfulness of Saint Andrew. We are excited and grateful to recognize Saint Andrew as an Open + Affirming Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Saint Andrew, may you continue living into your identity as Open + Affirming.