Five Practices of Welcome Renewal
What Is the Welcoming Congregations “Renewal” Program?
Many Welcoming Congregations confess to not having updated or reviewed their LGBTQ+ programs and outreach since the 1990s. As such, the UUA unveiled the Welcoming Congregations renewal program in 2015. Our goal was, “To honor your original pledge, it’s essential that new people in the congregation understand your congregation’s commitment to this work and that people who were originally involved in the program, and learn about the current needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ people.” Over the past three years, we have renewed 18 of our 800 Welcoming Congregations.
What Is the Welcoming Congregations Five Practices of Welcome Renewal Program?
In 2018, we wish to be bolder with our Welcome. Transgender 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 unveiling the The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal, which are:
- Become a Welcoming Congregation
Becoming a Welcoming Congregation is the expectation of every Unitarian Universalist congregation. While over 800 congregations are currently “approved,” the nearly 300 congregations that are not are encouraged to fulfill the original objectives of the Welcoming Congregations application.
- 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 your congregation to experience 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. Welcoming Congregations may register for a webinar or may chose to sponsor a local seminar for its local congregation and community.
- 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.
The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal are five benchmarks that every congregation will need 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. Welcoming Congregations will be required to meet the following benchmarks annually in order to remain “current” as a Welcoming Congregation.
How to Achieve the Five Practices of Welcome
1) Become a Welcoming Congregation
2) Welcoming Worship Services
Include at least two Welcoming Worship Services into your liturgical schedule that uplifts the themes of LGBTQ+ / TGQNB* welcome and inclusion. The following resources will help to ensure that you are practicing Welcome Renewal during your Welcoming Worship Services and throughout year as a Welcoming Congregation.
The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal is all about sharing. As more and more Welcoming Congregations participate in the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal prayers, music, reflections, orders of services will be made available to support Welcome Congregations in planning Welcoming Worship Services. Please visit Worship Web for liturgy and materials to assist with planning a Welcoming Worship Service.
- Uplift Archive
- Welcoming Congregation Bulletin Archive
- Multicultural Welcome: A Resource for Greeters (PDF, 15 pages)
- Same-Sex Wedding Guide (PDF, 31 pages)
3) Welcoming Days of Observance
Celebrate, reflect, observe the Welcoming Days of Observance included on the Welcoming Congregations Calendar throughout the year. It is expected that congregations would acknowledge at least six Days of Observance per year by featuring a prayer, Stories for All Ages, Chalice Lighting/Extinguishing, song, art form, etc. that honors the occasion. Download the Welcoming Days of Observance poster to display in your congregation. A postcard format is also available.
- Welcoming Days of Observance Poster
- Welcoming Days of Observance Postcard (Front)
- Welcoming Days of Observance Postcard (Back)
4) Welcoming Congregation Module
A Welcoming Congregation Module is a webinar or seminar made available to the congregation and community that informs, educates, and raises awareness about the issues and needs of the LGBTQ+ / TGQNB* community. UUA Multicultural Ministries will sponsor at least one Welcoming Webinar per year and programming resources for WC to host a seminar of their own. You may also host a movie “talkback” and book discussion group to fulfill this practice. We will also share recommended webinars, movies, and books to discuss throughout the year.
Transforming Hearts Collective’s Transgender Inclusion in Congregations
Welcoming “Treasure” Talkback using Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice Mapping a Detroit Story (2015) - Coming Soon
Upon conclusion of your Welcoming Webinar, please distribute the Five Practices of Welcome Renew - Welcoming Module Survey to receive feedback for your event. When you submit the average of your participant’s survey results in order to complete your annual renewal.
Five Practices of Welcome Renew - Welcoming Module Survey
5) Support a Welcoming Project
Welcoming Congregations are encouraged to donate to an LGBTQ+ / TGQNB organization, campaign, or project of their choice. For a list of suggested projects, please visit Support a Welcoming Project or contact lgbtq [at] uua [dot] org.
How to Renew the Five Practices of Welcome
- In order to remain “current,” Welcoming Congregations must renew the Five Practices of Welcome every year.
- Upon completion of all five practices, the chair of the WC committee will complete the automated renewal form. Please use the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal - Tracking Form to record your progress as you prepare for your annual renewal. Once you have completed all Five Practices, you may update your annual certification using the online form. Also, please remember to file your materials (bulletins, prayers, chalice lighting/extinguishing, etc.) to upload when completing the online form.
- Upon review, the WC will be renewed as “current” and receive a Five Practices of Welcome award letter and certificate for the year.
- The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal is per calendar year, beginning in 2019.
- Members of a Welcoming Congregation “current” in the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal will receive a ribbon to wear at General Assembly.