Welcoming Congregations 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 we have 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. Click here to find a welcoming congregation near you.
How Do We Practice Welcome?
Welcome is a spiritual practice. It takes constant doing and stretching for our welcome to grow. We practice welcome in our congregations by:
- Promoting inclusivity and using inclusive language
- Creating welcoming spaces, including gender neutral bathrooms
- Saying our welcome out loud and in print and online
- Building our welcoming skills as congregational leaders and greeters
- Deepening our understanding of identities that differ from our own
- Offering sexuality education for the entire lifespan
- Preventing discrimination in the process of hiring a minister
- Engaging in justice ministry in our communities and the wider world
- Regularly engaging in Welcoming Congregation programming and ministry (see below)
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.
Starting a New Program
- How to run a Welcoming Congregation Program
- Guidance for small congregations
- Apply for recognition as a Welcoming Congregation
- Welcoming Congregation stories
The work of welcome is never done. Welcoming Congregations can learn more about how to be truly welcoming to all people by renewing their commitment.