Friends and Members:
About 15 years ago our church went through a period of discernment and we intentionally adopted a policy of being Open and Affirming (UCC), Reconciling (UMC), and More Light (PCUSA). As part of this process we worked together to developed an inclusive statement, which reads in part:
As a Christian community, we seek to be inclusive of all persons without regard to age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious background, marital status, economic status, or personal ability.
Notice that we included “personal ability”. Council has voted to start a journey to expand this area to intentionally welcome and advocate for individuals dealing with mental health challenges, substance disorders, and brain differences (such as Autism, learning disabilities, and dementia).
We are engaging the Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive & Engaged (WISE) Congregation certification program that is sponsored by the UCC’s Mental Health Network. Similar to the ONA process, the WISE congregation designation acknowledges that Mountain View United Church is a safe and welcoming space for everyone, no matter their current mental health challenges or struggles with addiction.