Welcome, Affirmation, and Nondiscrimination Statements
One of the most public ways that your congregation can proclaim its welcome to all people, regardless of identity, is to include language in your bylaws, orders of service, website, newsletter, etc., that clearly states this welcome.
The Unitarian Universalist Association often receives requests for recommended language for such statements. It is up to your unique congregation to decide what rings most authentically for you, but here we offer up some of our favorite examples. See the bottom of the page for more information.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lower Bucks—Langhorne, PA
Article XIII—Welcoming Congregation
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lower Bucks affirms and promotes participation in all of its activities without regard to race, color, sex, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or national origin, and without requiring adherence to any religious belief or creed. The foregoing shall apply to all Fellowship activities and inform all of its decisions, including with respect to its employment decisions and its calling, installation and retention of its Minister.
United First Parish Church (Unitarian)—Quincy, MA
This Congregation welcomes all persons without regard to affectional or sexual orientation, age, color, gender identity or expression, nationality, origin, physical or mental ability, race, sex, and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed.
Starr King School for the Ministry—Berkeley, CA
The mission, theological vision and educational philosophy of the school support us in educating to counter oppressions. In our work we strive to embody what we hope to see in the world—a just, loving humanity and community in which people are free to be themselves fully and without fear. A community where no one is exiled, silenced or exploited because of gender, gender expression, race, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexual/affectional orientation, age, class, physical character or disability.
—From mission statement
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island—Freeland, WA
The congregation affirms, promotes, and celebrates the participation of all practices, and the calling of religious professionals, without regard to race, color, sex, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, age, or socioeconomic status.
First Parish Church United—Westford, MA
We, the congregation of First Parish Church United of Westford, MA, declare ourselves to be Open, Affirming and Welcoming. An Open, Affirming and Welcoming Congregation celebrates the lives of all people and their ways of expressing their love for each other. Therefore, we strive to be a congregation that includes all persons, embracing differences of sexual orientation, gender and its expression, religious background, marital status, family structure, age, mental and physical health and ability, racial and cultural identity or background, and educational and socioeconomic status. We welcome all to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our congregation’s life.
First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, MI
We create and foster community by providing an intentionally welcoming and safe environment where all feel valued and cared for, and where all are given opportunity to form meaningful connections with one another. We foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all. We cherish the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial means, education, and political perspective.
—From website and Board “Ends Statement”
Heartland Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Indianapolis—Zionsville, IN
Heartland seeks to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.
We are a congregation which celebrates and supports the lives, the relationships, and the individual and group contributions of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members and friends. We affirm and promote their full participation in the life of the congregation and community.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, VA
Are you seeking a community of seekers who respect the differences between people and affirms every person as an individual, no matter their race, age, ability, gender, or whom they love?
Are you eager to find a church that acts locally and thinks globally on the great issues of our time—world peace, women’s rights, racial justice, homelessness, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights, and protection of the environment?
First Parish in Concord, Unitarian Universalist—Concord, MA
As a Welcoming Congregation, First Parish invites everyone into our faith community, without regard to race, gender, age, color, national origin, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima, WA
Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima is a Welcoming Community that embraces people of any age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, ability, language, or cultural background.
—From standard Order of Service
Note on Bylaws
If you are amending your congregation's bylaws, consider adding language to sections on mission, membership, and employment, and/or adding a section that addresses affirmation and promotion in all activities and endeavors, including membership, programming, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals.
Note on Gender and Sexuality
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Ministries (LGBTQ Ministries), an office that is part of Multicultural Growth & Witness, recommends that you consider the phrases "gender identity and expression" and "sexual or affectional orientation" for the sorts of statements discussed on this page.
"Gender identity and expression" communicates that you value, respect, and welcome diversity in terms of how people self-identify and also in terms of how people express themselves (which are different, if related, things).
"Sexual and affectional orientation" addresses the fact that the topic of attraction and partnership is complex. For example, some people are sexually attracted to people of a certain gender or gender presentation and affectionally (or romantically) attracted to people of a different gender or gender presentation.
For more on gender and sexuality, please read Identity 101.
For more on how to live into your congregation's commitments to be inclusive of all, check out Nurturing Inclusivity.
For more information contact lgbtq @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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