First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor has declared itself to be a “Welcoming and Affirming Congregation,” a church which welcomes all people, inclusive of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and other identities, statuses, or backgrounds.
The church took this action by congregational vote on an official “Statement of Welcome” on Sunday, June 10, 2018; the statement passed with 94 percent congregational approval.
Statement of Welcome
We believe that all humanity is created in God’s image and is of sacred worth. Therefore, compelled by faith in Jesus Christ, the sign of God’s inclusive and boundless love for the world, we joyfully welcome and affirm individuals of any age, race, ethnicity, nationality, physical and mental ability, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, level of education, economic circumstance, and religious background to participate fully in all aspects of the life and ministry of our church.
As an inclusive community of Christian faith, First Baptist Church has a long history of embracing those who have not felt welcomed elsewhere. The church created and approved this Statement of Welcome in order to be more explicit in their stance, specifically with respect to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In explaining what the church intends to convey, the Reverend Dr. Stacey Simpson Duke, Co-Pastor, offered, “We acknowledge the full personhood of an LGBTQ person, as a child of God, equal before God, and equally capable of living a Christian life. We acknowledge that they are equally loved by God regardless of who they love or how they identify with their gender. They do not need to change who they are in order to be accepted by our church. They do not have second-class status here. They are not just tolerated but are embraced as anyone else would be. They do not need to be afraid of judgment or exclusion because of who they are or who they love. These acknowledgements are intended to stand as a counter-witness to the messages LGBTQ people have historically received from churches: messages of condemnation, exclusion, rejection, and even hatred.”
First Baptist Church is committed to being a voice of love and a place of welcome. We are delighted to be taking this step today, as part of our journey with and towards the transformative love of God in Jesus Christ.