A Brief History

First United is a safe place to share our authentic selves.

We have come to that place out of a several-year journey that continues into the present and is rooted in our abolitionist history. Our journey to becoming a More Light congregation began in the early 1990s and was characterized by intentional adult education, congregational conversations and meetings, and visits from churches that already had taken the step to become More Light.

After our Inclusiveness Statement was written in 1996, we joined the network of More Light Presbyterian churches. Our More Light Ministry Team is responsible for education, outreach, visibility, hospitality, and action regarding matters of inclusiveness. The team serves the congregation and the community in welcoming, accepting, and involving all people of faith by working for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in God’s church. Making our welcome visible are two rainbow banners; one floats outside our entrance and the other, handmade by one of our elders, hangs in the Sanctuary.

First United offers periodic adult education courses such as the Bible and homosexuality, marriage equality, LGBT rights, and transgender issues. Several members participated in Equality and Justice Day at the state capital to advocate for marriage equality in New York State in 2011. Marriage Equality became law in New York by a vote of the legislature in June 2011.

At every opportunity since 1999 First United’s Session has endorsed Amendments to the PC (USA) constitution advocating ordination equality and, most recently, marriage equality.

The More Light Ministry Team lists as member organizations Presbyterian Rainbow (a coalition within Albany Presbytery), More Light Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve, Covenant Network, and the Shower of Stoles Project. First United hangs a sampling of stoles from the Project twice annually, on Ordination Sunday and on our designated More Light Sunday.

Other More Light activities at First United include programs with noted activists, participation the the area's annual Pride Parade and Festival, and advertising in the Pride Center of the Capital Region's monthly newsletter, CommUNITY.