New UCC pastoral letter, toolkit urge church to speak out for trans, nonbinary people

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The Council of Conference Ministers, the Officers of the United Church of Christ, and the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition have joined together to publish a pastoral letter addressing the attacks on people of transgender or nonbinary experience across the United States.

These leaders in the United Church of Christ “want every person of transgender or nonbinary binary experience to know this: you are beloved by God. No earthly power can separate you from God’s love. God created you perfectly: your gender identity or expression is God’s gift to you and the world.”

The letter was written by Rev. Andy Lang with editing collaboration from Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Rev. Phil Hodson, and our own Conference Minister, Rev. Kim Wood.

The letter calls on the UCC’s “congregations and ministry settings” to respond in word and deed. “To the congregations and ministry settings of the United Church of Christ: We ask you to surround persons of transgender or nonbinary experience and their families and loved ones with compassion and care. Do not be silent when this wave of persecution threatens human life. This is a time to love – not behind closed doors but out in the open, with word and action. Your visible witness demonstrates that all who struggle against defamation and hatred have a home in the United Church of Christ.”

The UCC also has a new toolkit of worship, social media, and other resources to help local churches welcome and speak out for trans and nonbinary people. The toolkit can be found here.

As Pride month begins in many states, we are reminded that “coming out” is a powerful moral force that transforms lives. This is true not only for LGBTQ+ people but also for churches. This is a time when congregations are called to come out to show the world that love is stronger than hate.