Been Waiting for You seeks to help local congregations, ministers, ministers-in-training, and all persons of faith to pursue openness and affirmation of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons within the New Jersey Association of the Central Atlantic Conference.
We know that as Christians, we are many members, but are one body in Christ-members of one another, and that we all have different gifts. With Jesus, we affirm that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, that we are called to act as agents of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the church itself.
We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are often scorned by the church, and devalued and discriminated against both in the church and in society. We commit ourselves to caring and concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers by affirming that:
* we believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people share with others the worth that comes from being unique individuals;
* we welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to join with us in the same spirit and manner used in, the acceptance of any persons;
* we recognize the presence of ignorance, fear and hatred in the church and in our culture, and covenant to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, nor any other irrelevant factor, and we seek to include and support those who, because of this fear and prejudice, find themselves in exile from a spiritual community;
* we seek to address the needs and advocate the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in our church and in society by actively encouraging church instrumentalities and secular governmental bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination; and
* we join together as a covenantal community, to celebrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed created by God, reconciled by Christ and empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
(This statement of purpose was adapted from the ONA resolution of Broadway UCC, in New York City.)
What DO those acronyms mean anyways?
When discussing ONA within the UCC even within the CAC, one can get confused combined letters as simple as LGBT or LGBTQ. What on earth do all these stand for anyway? And why use them at all, if they cause so much confusion? Well, to be truthful, those “in the know” know what the acronyms stand for and it saves a lot of writing when using them each time. So, to bring YOU “in the know”, here are some acronyms of interest:
LGBT(Q): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (Questioning). Usually the Questioning acronym is added when in conversation with teenagers or young adults.
ONA: Open and Affirming. These three letters have caused so much confusion because of that confusing letter N. Safe to say, OAA (replacing the N with an A) did not seem appropriate 20 years ago when this was being discussed. Some have recommended replacing the N with an ampersand (&) but for whatever reason, that hasn’t caught on. Safe to say, ONA is Open and Affirming.
UCC: United Church of Christ. We all know those this, right?
CAC: Central Atlantic Conference. If you don’t know this, I am going to tell John Deckenback on you.