Hayshire’s Open and Affirming (ONA) mission is to extend an extravagant welcome to all those who seek a safe and loving space for worship and a place to feel the presence of God. Our doors are open to those in the LGBTQ community, as well as those with physical and mental disabilities, from any race and age, and having any or no previous church experience. No matter who you are, or where your journey may be, Hayshire’s doors are open, with a warm welcome, and a loving heart to greet you.
What is Open and Affirming?
In 1985, the United Church of Christ's General Synod adopted a resolution encouraging UCC congregations to welcome gay, lesbian, and bisexual members, urging them to “Declare Themselves Open and Affirming”. The national church developed the UCC ONA Coalition to work with congregations through their individual journeys. In 1987, the Coalition certified the first 15 ONA congregations. Today, over 1,500 congregations have declared themselves Open and Affirming, which represents approximately 30% of all UCC congregations.
Hayshire’s ONA Journey
In the spring of 2014, a group of Hayshire members met to discuss the possibility of becoming an ONA congregation. Under the leadership of Interim Pastor Eva O’Diam, an ONA team was developed, consisting of Pastor Eva, Scott Cutright, Dick Lloyd, Sally Dietz, Kori Eisenhart and Leah Parson. The team started by polling church members to get a feel for whether a journey was possible. With positive support from the congregation, the team organized a series of events including Bible study, movies, panel discussions and additional surveys. Following these events, the team created its ONA covenant, declaring Hayshire Open and Affirming, in its own words. In July 2015, Hayshire voted 88-2 to adopt the covenant. Hayshire became an official ONA congregation of the United Church of Christ.
Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
–Romans 15:7 NIV
Our Continued Support
Since the adoption of the ONA covenant, the team has continued to meet in order to find the best ways to proudly proclaim being an ONA congregation. Team members have participated in a number of events, including workshops, Pride festivals, LGBT events, among others. In early 2018, a consortium of York ONA churches was initiated, with Hayshire ONA team members taking part. The goal of the consortium is to be a combined ONA front, alongside like-minded congregations, working to further the ONA movement in York and beyond, and to assist other congregations in their own ONA journeys. The Hayshire ONA team will continue to work with the consortium moving forward.
Hayshire's ONA Covenant
No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. We, the family of Hayshire United Church of Christ, believe that all people are created in God’s image and are all equally blessed and loved. Jesus taught us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). We wholeheartedly embrace Jesus’ teaching of unconditional love for all people and thus declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ. We offer an extravagant welcome to all regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or family structure, economic or social status, emotional, mental, or physical ability, educational level or faith background. We invite all to participate in the life of Hayshire through leadership, ministry, mission, fellowship, worship, sacraments, and sharing in one another’s joys and blessings. Here at Hayshire, we commit to being a community of faith that works toward openness and understanding, offering justice, reconciliation, healing and wholeness of life for all people; a place where all may encounter the loving presence of God.
All are welcome at Hayshire UCC!