The UUA’s Welcoming Congregation Program, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary! The LGBTQ world has changed dramatically since the program was conceived in 1989, and implemented in 1990. Today, over 70% of our congregations have been recognized as Welcoming Congregations. That includes over 95% of large and mid-sized congregations, and, now, over 50% of small congregations.
The Welcoming Congregation Program has been revised over the years to incorporate some of the changing realities for LGBTQ people, but, for a host of reasons, the last revision of the Welcoming Congregation Handbook was in 2002, four years before any state had legalized same-sex marriage!
Recently, the office of Multicultural Growth & Witness, which currently manages the Welcoming Congregation Program, has been encouraging congregations to rely more heavily on web resources we have curated and developed. However, despite outdated content, the Handbook has still been available through the UUA Bookstore as a guide for congregations. Until now, that is; the Welcoming Congregation Handbook is no longer being sold through the Bookstore.
Congregations seeking Welcoming Congregation status will be encouraged to access the web resources and design a program that is customized to fit its needs as a congregation. Find LGBTQ resources on uua.org (http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/).
Welcome and Inclusion in the 21st Century
It’s time to take a new look at what welcoming means, what inclusion and hospitality mean, and how our multiple identities across race and ethnicity, abilities, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity/ expression inform who we are as whole people within Unitarian Universalism. Informed by the results of the Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project, which has been underway for the past year, the office of Multicultural Growth & Witness will now undertake re-envisioning the Welcoming Congregation for the next twenty-five years.
As the United States becomes a mosaic of diverse cultures, Unitarian Universalism can play a leadership role in adapting to and embracing this new reality, not unlike the one we played with LGBTQ rights over the last forty years. Throughout this process of revisioning, UUs will have formal and informal ways for to share their wisdom with the MG&W staff.