A Welcoming Congregation
In the 1980s and 90s, when the word “welcoming” became a code word for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, the Unitarian Universalist Association launched a Welcoming Congregation Program to help us learn how to undo homophobia—and later, transphobia (prejudice against transgender people)—in our hearts and minds, our congregations, and our communities.
Today, most Unitarian Universalist congregations are recognized Welcoming Congregations. The spiritual practice of welcome is a very important one to our faith community.
UUCS is a Welcoming Congregation, recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association. This means we affirm and include people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer at every level of congregational life—in worship, in program, and in social occasions—welcoming them as whole people.
As a Welcoming Congregation we have pledged to:
- honor the lives of all people and equally affirm displays of caring and affection without regard for sexual orientation.
- celebrate diversity by using inclusive language and content in worship.
- incorporate an understanding of the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons throughout all of our programs, including religious education.
- affirm and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues and history.
- affirm marriage equality and conduct same-sex weddings.
- advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, promoting justice, freedom, and equality in the larger society. We speak out when the rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are at stake.
- We do not assume that everyone is heterosexual, and this is reflected in our vocabulary of worship.
- We celebrate the lives of all people and their ways of expressing love for one another.
- We seek to be inclusive and expressive of the concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons at every level of congregational life — in worship, in programs, and in social settings — welcoming not only their presence, but the unique gifts and diversity of their lives as well.
- We celebrate an evolving definition of family by welcoming same-sex couples, recognizing their committed relationships, and affirming outward signs of caring and affection without regard for sexual orientation.
- We seek to reach out into the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities through advertising and active support of affirmative groups.
- We strive to incorporate the experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons into all our programs, including religious exploration.
- We advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the larger society, addressing legislative developments and speaking out when the rights, dignity, and freedom of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons are at stake.
- We offer congregational and ministerial support for services of union and memorial services for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons.
- We recognize the need to nurture ongoing dialog between gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual persons, to work toward deeper trust and stronger unity.
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns offers a wealth of information on the Welcoming Congregation Program, including answers to many commonly-asked questions.
Interweave, Unitarian Universalists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, provides outreach programs, including an annual conference and a quarterly newsletter, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender UUs and their heterosexual allies.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) offers support, education, and advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons and their families and friends. Many of their publications are available for reading on their website, as well as contact information for local parents groups.