With a single, brave decision for inclusion of ALL God's children, BMUCC took a bold stance that changed the future of the church forever.
In a world where acceptance and love should be universal, the reality is that LGBTQ individuals often face discrimination and rejection within their religious communities. However, there are beacons of hope and healing, such as Black Mountain United Church of Christ (UCC), which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary as an Open & Affirming Congregation. This milestone is not just a cause for celebration but also an opportunity to reflect on the important role the church plays in providing a spiritual home for LGBTQ people who have been abused and abandoned by their previous religious affiliations.
Creating a Sanctuary of Love and Acceptance
A decade ago, Black Mountain UCC made a bold decision to openly declare itself an Open & Affirming Congregation, embracing LGBTQ individuals with open hearts and minds. This choice was driven by a prayerful consideration of the pain and hurt experienced by countless LGBTQ people who had been subjected to abuse and rejection within other churches. It became the church's mission to provide a safe haven, a sanctuary where these individuals could rebuild their spiritual lives and find a community that embraces them for who they love and how they identify.
At Black Mountain UCC, inclusivity is not just a catchphrase but a guiding principle. The church's welcoming stance has allowed LGBTQ individuals to feel seen, heard, and loved for who they truly are. By creating an environment free from judgment and discrimination, Black Mountain UCC has become a spiritual home for those who have been wounded and rejected elsewhere.
Healing the Wounds of the Past
The wounds inflicted by religious abuse and rejection can run deep. LGBTQ individuals often bear the scars of spiritual trauma that impact their sense of self-worth and faith. Recognizing this, Black Mountain UCC has made it a priority to foster healing and restoration within its congregation.
The church offers LGBTQ individuals who have experienced religious trauma a full and equal seat at God's table and a community of non-judgement and compassion. By embracing ALL people, we create space for dialogue and growth, enabling individuals to reclaim their spirituality and rebuild their own personal relationship with God.
Impact on the Community
Black Mountain UCC's commitment to being an Open & Affirming Congregation has had a profound impact on the community at large. For years, our rainbow banners visible from North Scottsdale Road have communicated a message of inclusion and compassion to all who pass by - LGBTQ or otherwise. Many of the church's most beloved members joined because - even though they aren't part of the LGBTQ community - they value the church's inclusive nature. But the church's unwavering stance on inclusivity has sent a powerful message to those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity – they are not alone, and they are deserving of God's love. Even if they never step through our doors, we will never know the number of people we've impacted because of a simple piece of fabric that hangs on our building.
As Black Mountain United Church of Christ commemorates its 10-year anniversary as an Open & Affirming Congregation, it stands as a beacon of hope and love in a world that often marginalizes LGBTQ individuals. By providing a spiritual home to those who have suffered religious abuse and abandonment, the church has offered healing and acceptance, allowing individuals to reclaim their faith and develop a deeper relationship with their God. That's something we as a church can be proud of.