Open and affirming

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In a recent story discussing same-sex marriages, the Post-Gazette’s religion writer, Peter Smith, outlined how churches may feel challenged by the public’s growing acceptance of such marriages — and how many people in these relationships can feel disfranchised by churches (“Churches Paying Price on Same-Sex Marriage: Poll Finds Damage From Opposition,” March 3).

Mr. Smith did not mention that Smithfield Street United Church of Christ, located Downtown, is a striking exception to what he found elsewhere. Established in 1782, Smithfield is the city’s oldest organized congregation. Throughout its long history, it has proclaimed and defended the right to personal conviction in spiritual matters. Today it is a part of the denomination called the United Church of Christ, which celebrates the principle of extending an “extravagant welcome” to all those who are seeking God, and recently that denomination officially designated Smithfield an “open and affirming” church.

Always an exceptional church, Smithfield United Church of Christ and its inclusive stance is today an exception to the general picture that Mr. Smith reported in his article, and I hope he and others will come and visit us soon to see how that stance is alive and well today.

Congregation President
Smithfield United Church of Christ

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