The Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard voted unanimously on June 23 to become an Open and Affirming Church, embracing a welcoming covenant. The vote was the culmination of a nine-month discernment process undertaken by the congregation.

Rev. Dr. Mark Winters said: “This covenant is the official step through which we can declare our welcome, out loud, to express God’s unconditional love to all people, particularly to those who have felt the cruel sting of uncertainty or even outright hostility, when they simply want to belong.”