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LGBTQ / TGQNB Welcoming Congregations Five Pillars

*Transgender, Genderqueer, Non-Binary

LGBTQ+ / TGQNB* Welcoming Congregations Five Pillars of Welcome Renewal
LGBTQ+ / TGQNB* Welcoming Congregations Five Pillars of Welcome Renewal
LGBTQ Welcome & Equality, Welcoming Congregation Program

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 Pillars 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 Pillars of Welcome Renewal, which are:

  1. 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.
  2. Welcoming Worship Services
    The second Pillar 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.  
  3. Welcoming Days of Observance
    The third Pillar 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.”
  4. Welcoming Congregation Module
    The fourth Pillar 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 it’s local congregation and community.
  5. Support a Welcoming Project
    The fifth Pillar 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 Pillars 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 Pillars of Welcome

  1. Become a Welcoming Congregation
    Visit LGBTQ Justice and apply to 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.
  3. Welcoming Days of Observance  Celebrate, reflect, observe the Welcoming Days of Observance included on the Welcoming Congregations Calendar throughout the year.   
  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. MGW will sponsor at least one Welcoming Webinar per year and programming resources for WC to host a seminar of their own.
  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 contact lgbtq [at] uua [dot] org.

How to Renew the Five Pillars of Welcome

  • In order to remain “current,” Welcoming Congregations must renew the Five Pillars of Welcome every year.
  • Upon completion of all five pillars, the chair of the WC committee will complete the automated renewal form.
  • Upon review, the WC will be renewed as “current” and receive a Five Pillars of Welcome award letter and certificate for the year.
  • The Five Pillars of Welcome Renewal is per calendar year, beginning in 2019.
  • Members of a Welcoming Congregation “current” in the Five Pillars of Welcome Renewal will receive a ribbon to wear at General Assembly.

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For more information contact lgbtq@uua.org.