“We, the members of the First Congregational Church of Bellingham, United Church of Christ, publicly resolve:
We believe in a loving God, who embraces the dignity, worth, and sacredness of every person. We believe God loves all persons without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, economic or social status, and sexual orientation. We believe we are created in God’s image and are called upon to accept and understand our humanity and diversity as gifts from God. We recognize that the institutional church has often judged persons based upon their sexual orientation, and has excluded these persons from the community of faith.
The church has often been silent concerning societal injustice. Therefore, we covenant to welcome and affirm every person, without regard to sexual orientation, into the full life, rites, and ministry of our church. We commit ourselves to act for justice and inclusiveness.
Together, God at our center, we covenant to be an Open and Affirming church community. We pray, as those who follow Christ, for the capacity to envision life as it could be and, with the help of God, to unite ourselves across our differences and to treat all with respect, dignity, love, compassion and justice.”
This statement was approved by congregational vote on March 14, 1999. A January 13, 2008 congregational vote approved the present language with the understanding that “rites” include marriage rites.