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Open & Affirming 2.0

Why pronouns on our Plymouth nametags matter.

On Plymouth’s website for Open and Affirming, we say we “extend our extravagant welcome,” and the bonds of love, to all.

The objective of Open and Affirming 2.0 is to build upon the work that Plymouth started in 2004 – to create a community in which all people feel welcomed and safe. Each week we wear our nametags so we can get to know each other. Now the current Plymouth Academy Course on preferred pronouns examines the UCC position on gender identity, “one’s own sense of self,” and recognizes that our expression of gender affects every aspect of our daily lives.

In October, we will provide stickers to add to our name tags with preferred pronouns for those who wish to use them. These stickers provide transgender and gender-nonconforming people to be known here without having to explain themselves. Young people in our community need to know they will not be excluded or judged. We encourage everyone to display their own pronouns in support of inclusivity. It matters.

Open and Affirming 2.0 has organized educational workshops for those who wish to know more about gender identity and preferred pronouns. We will also have a table in the Narthex for several Sundays, beginning October 10. The preferred pronoun stickers will be available at the workshops and the table in the Narthex.

In August 2021, Plymouth Church celebrated the life of Dr. Alan Sanders, who died in January 2021, just a few days before his 92nd birthday. Alan’s obituary stated that one of his proudest accomplishments was his early involvement in Plymouth’s adoption and implementation of our Open and Affirming policy. He asked hard questions as we spent two years presenting programs to the congregation, taking the time to be transparent and deliberative. In the end, it was Alan who volunteered to write the first draft of what became Plymouth’s Open an Affirming statement, welcoming all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

We are recognizing and continuing to strive for now that community of deep hospitality and kindness, traits Alan was known for, as we move toward demonstrating that “all are welcome here” indeed.


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