LGBTQ+ Welcome & Equality, Welcoming Congregation Program
We know that religious spaces haven’t always been welcoming places for all people, especially when it comes to gender and sexuality. We are out to change that.
For 25 years the national UUA has worked hard to make sure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are full members of our faith communities. Being welcoming means striving for radical inclusion, and creating spaces that honor every part of our identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
The Welcoming Congregation Program
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.
Hear our Welcoming Congregation stories
The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal are five benchmarks that every congregation needs to integrate into congregational life in order to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, genderqueer, non-binary, and the like feel fully welcomed, centered, and embraced in our Unitarian Universalist congregation. We are required to meet the following benchmarks annually in order to remain “current” as a Welcoming Congregation.
Unitarian Universalists are still struggling to find community in UU congregations. Bisexual UUs suffer from invisibility while asexual, intersex, and polyamorous communities are wrestling with a progressive faith that does not privilege their truth. These and the many more social ills that plague our LGBTQ+ and TGQNB communities are calling us into a deeper commitment to insure that our Unitarian Universalist congregations are living into the Welcome that we boldly proclaim.
As such, we are commited to the The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal, which are:
- Being a Welcoming Congregation
Being a Welcoming Congregation is the expectation of every Unitarian Universalist congregation.
- Welcoming Worship Services
The second Practice of Welcome Renewal is incorporating Welcoming Worship Services into our ordinary calendar of worship every year. These services might occur during LGBTQ+ Pride Month or any other day of observance. An LGBTQ marriage ceremony, naming ritual, or remembrance ceremonies may also fulfill this objective.
- Welcoming Days of Observance
The third Practice of Welcome Renewal is an annual recognition and celebration of the Welcoming Days of Observance. These days and seasons are important to LGBTQ+ / TGQNB communities because they bring visibility and affirmation after generations of invisibility and erasure. These days remind all that “All of who you are is sacred. All of who you are is welcome.”
- Welcoming Congregation Module
The fourth Practice of Welcome Renewal is an annual opportunity for us to learn and share from a Welcoming Congregation Module. A WC module is a UUA approved seminar / webinar. Each year the UUA LGBTQ program office will offer at least one Welcoming Webinar engaging LGBTQ+ / TGQNB issues and topics.
- Support a Welcoming Project
The fifth Practice of Welcome Renewal is Support a Welcoming Project. Welcoming Congregations are congregations that give generously of our gifts and resources. To remain current, WCs may donate a sizable donation to a local and national organization, campaign, or project that uplifts the dignity of LGBTQ+/TGQNB communities.