We just celebrated our TENTH Anniversary of becoming an Open and Affirming (ONA) Congregation!
Sunday, November 12, 2017 marked the 10th anniversary (to the exact day!) of us becoming an Open and Affirming Congregation and making our welcome of the LGBTQ community explicit and clear.
Oh what a glorious worship service it was!
Opening our worship service was the beautiful melodic voices of Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams and her wife Michele Edwards-Williams. Their voices wrapped us in love as they sang words of welcome and blessing. The pictures speak for themselves!
Front and center were the beautiful new rainbow paraments that Dotty Martinez and Cheryl Norton made for the pulpit and the lectern. Rev. Heather and Rev. Dr. Marsha wore handmade rainbow ribbon stoles that Rev. Heather made. Mona Tobey created and donated the beautiful flower arrangements on our altar.
Deacon Chair Eli Mann led us in the Call to Worship and the Prayer of Confession. Aren’t his suspenders and bow tie awesome? And Rev. Heather read a beautiful excerpt from 1 Corinthians 12 to the congregation.
We were invited us to greet one another with affection and share the peace of Christ with our nearest neighbors, but in true FCC fashion, most of us got up and connected with all the visitors and friends we hadn’t seen in a while.
We also heard an amazing Choir Anthem with our Chancel Choir inviting us to sing with them. And had the choir lead the congregation in a hymn Michelle Williams taught to them that morning (featured here).
Rev. Heather spoke to our kids in the Message to All God’s Children. It was wonderful to see her on the chancel steps joined by so many of our young people. Together they and some of the young at heart in the congregation offered answers to the question “how does someone know that they are loved?” (2 children were cropped from the pictures because they were new to us that morning and Tracy didn’t have a chance to see their parent(s) to get photo permissions)
Our own New York Associate Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams was our guest preacher and she brought us a powerful message about what it means to be the Body of Christ, and how to respond when that Body acts like it has suffered a stroke. She used some evocative imagery that captured our attention and had many people laughing, clapping, and saying a heartfelt “amen” from time to time.
(A clip of this sermon will be posted shortly!)
We heard God’s word. We sang praises to God and we shared God’s love together.