The United Church of Christ is the first religious denomination to be a major sponsor of the Gay Games, and several Cleveland-based congregations are among more than 30 UCC churches throughout the country to also sign on as individual sponsors of the event.
Archwood UCC in Cleveland; Brecksville UCC in Brecksville; Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights in Shaker Heights; and South Haven UCC in Bedford have provided a level of financial support for the Gay Games and will be listed alongside the denomination as individual sponsors of the ninth international competition, taking place Aug. 9-16 in Cleveland, home of the UCC's headquarters.
"Having our local churches pledge their support of Gay Games 9 reaffirms our decision to play such a major role in this year's event," said Ann Poston, director of communications for the UCC's national offices. "We want Gay Games athletes, participants and spectators to know that the extravagant welcome of the United Church of Christ extends far beyond Cleveland, and that UCC churches throughout the country are sending well wishes of inclusivity and acceptance their way."
The local churches co-sponsoring Gay Games 9 range in size from a 20-member church in Guerneville, Calif., to a 1,264-member church in Dallas, and span from Oregon to Massachusetts. All of the co-sponsors are designated Open and Affirming by the UCC, meaning the churches publically welcome all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.