ESSEX and OLD LYME — A new sign (see above) in front of the First Congregational Church of Essex, a member church of the United Church of Christ, includes the usual notation for the church with its name, year of formation — in this case — 1852, and then these words, “An Open and Affirming Church.”
The final words on the church’s new sign indicate that the church welcomes all parishioners, regardless of their age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Meanwhile, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme goes a little further in its signage, as can be seen in the photo below right.
Our unscientific poll suggests there have been a few objections in both churches to the signs, but most parishioners seem comfortable with them.
It is interesting that both churches have chosen to present their respective new signs at a similar time.
We can only speculate on the catalyst for the timing since we have not investigated it.
Whether or not these “open and affirming” statements made by two Congregational churches in relatively close proximity with one another will now be adopted by other Congregational churches across the country remains to seen.
Dear readers, as always, we welcome your thoughts …