At an open meeting held on Sunday, Sept. 29, UUCPA kicked off an effort to renew our status as a Welcoming Congregation for LGBTQ+ UUs. The UUA’s Welcoming Congregation Renewal program provides a framework for UUCPA and other UU churches to reaffirm our commitment and respond to the evolving needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ people.
The UUA first instituted the Welcoming Congregation Program in 1990 to address widespread homophobia and exclusion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people within Unitarian Universalism and religion writ large. UUCPA took its first steps toward certification in 1994 and achieved certification in 1999.
But there is much left to do. Transgender UUs still struggle to find community in UU congregations. Bisexual UUs often feel invisible. And the perspectives and truths of intersex, asexual, and polyamorous UUs are rarely uplifted.
The Welcoming Program Renewal program calls on UU churches to:
- Become a Welcoming Congregation (if a church has not done so already).
- Incorporate at least two Welcoming Worship Services into the ordinary worship calendar during the year to uplift LGBTQ+ inclusion and themes.
- Reflect on Welcoming Days of Observance throughout the year (e.g., Transgender Day of Remembrance, National Coming Out Day).
- Offer a Welcoming Congregation seminar or webinar.
- Support a Welcoming Project on behalf of an LGBTQ+ organization, campaign, or project.
At the Sept. 29 kick-off meeting, attendees noted that UUCPA is well-positioned to meet these requirements: we already do many of these things during the year and others besides (e.g., offering inclusive Our Whole Lives comprehensive sexuality education classes). So, attendees discussed how UUCPA can take this opportunity to look more broadly at how we support LGBTQ+ people and their families and allies. One attendee even volunteered to serve as project manager for the long-discussed conversion of some UUCPA restroom facilities into all-gender restrooms!
UUCPA’s renewal journey will be coordinated through the church’s new Welcoming Congregation email list: sign up at https://groups.google.com/a/uucpa.org/d/forum/welcoming or contact Susan Owicki (firstname.lastname@example.org) to stay informed and learn how you can contribute to the cause!