What is a Unitarian Church Welcoming Congregation?
Unitarian organizations have consistently advocated for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identifications — supporting human rights for all. The Welcoming Congregation program helps congregations create a truly welcoming environment for all persons. The Canadian Unitarian Council reports that 99% of Canadian congregations are now 'Welcoming'.
These points describes what we do as a Welcoming Congregation:
* We include and express the concerns of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender persons at every level of congregational life
* We celebrate the lives of all people and welcome same-sex couples, recognizing their committed relationships. We affirm all displays of caring and affection without regard to sexual orientation
* We seek to nurture ongoing dialogue between bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian and transgender persons in order to create deeper trust and sharing
* We advocate for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people, attending to legislative developments and working to promote justice, freedom and equality in the larger society
* We speak out in support of the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people
Unitarianism, which has long had as its first guiding principle the commitment to “affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person” has come farther than any other North American faith tradition in welcoming and affirming bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender persons.
Welcoming Congregations are congregations that have completed a Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) program, and have passed a congregational vote to affirm that they welcome the membership and active participation of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and/or transgender people. In Canada, 99% of UU congeegations are 'Welcoming'.
UUCH "Love Float" Halifax Pride Parade 2010
* Click Here to See all 2010 Pride Parade Photos: www.uuch.ca/uuch-pride-2010
Welcoming Congregation Program History
In 1987 the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) established the Common Vision Planning Committee. This committee found many negative attitudes, deep prejudices, and profound ignorance about bisexual, gay, and lesbian people, which resulted in the exclusion of bisexual, gay, and lesbian people from their churches. As a result of these findings (PDF, 21 pages), the delegates of the 1989 UUA General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to initiate the Welcoming Congregation program to educate its members. Each congregation adapts the program to best meet its goals, and each unique situation can bring positive changes to individuals and congregations.
The Welcoming Congregation Program is a completely volunteer program for congregations that see a need to become more inclusive toward bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people. It consists of a series of workshops developed by the UUA. The goal of the workshops is to reduce prejudice by increasing understanding and acceptance among people of different sexual orientations.
Some of the workshop titles include: How Homophobia Hurts Heterosexuals; Connections to Other Forms of Oppression; Gender Socialization and Homophobia; and Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality. Many congregations offer the workshop series several consecutive times as an adult religious education curriculum open to all members and friends.
In some congregations, the workshop series (and later the entire program) is sponsored by a Welcoming Congregation Task Force/Committee created for just this purpose, while other congregations sponsor the workshop series through their Interweave chapters. In either case, the workshops are best facilitated by those who have experienced the curriculum.
Read the history of the Rainbow Flag and the Pink Triangle symbols
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UUA Welcoming Congregattions UUA www.uua.org/leaders/leaderslibrary/welcomingcongregation/index.shtml
1st Unitarian Church of Ottawa www.uuottawa.com/citizen3.htm