More than 10 years ago the UUA realized that we UUs needed to be more proactive in welcoming lesbians, gays, and bisexuals to our congregations. At that time, the organization had not thought about gender identity concerns, so the T and Q (and I and A) were not part of initial plans for the “Welcoming Congregation” program. The Welcoming Congregation program was designed then to educate our congregations and to generate action for inclusivity. A curriculum was designed and congregations were asked to review all areas of their organizations—by-laws, religious education, human resources materials, social justice, music, and so on embracing all committees and councils. There was a check list of activities required to receive official recognition as a Welcoming Congregation by the UUA. UUCB was one of the first congregations in the Front Range of Colorado to complete the requirements for official accreditation.
Churches and fellowships were encouraged to continue work in this area with worship services and other activities continuing the work of the Welcoming Congregation. We have had one or more worship service dealing with welcoming GLBTAIQ people to our congregation, but we have not offered a class since that initial time period. We offered a class three times that year with a series of weeknight classes, one time as several all-day Saturday classes, and a shortened class at the All-Church Retreat. We did lots of other things such as reviewing all RE materials to be sure that the people our children and youth studied and learned about were not just straight white men.
We’ve had a group, small at times, through the years that was concerned with the Welcoming Congregation and with working with other community organizations such as Parents and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered and Queer (PFLAG) and the Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP). The name of our UUCB group has had several changes over time—sometimes GLBT and Allies and other arrangements of letters. The letters are always a mouthful and new letters have been added over time. Now we’ve decided it is just easier to call ourselves the Welcoming Congregation group. We’ll be providing you with some definitions in future newsletters and news of what we are doing.
Join us for a meeting on Sunday, March 1, at about 11:45. We’ll bring snacks to share and talk about a possible workshop for the August UUCB retreat, as well as other items. Watch for the new rainbow flag which will soon hang beside UUCB’s front doors.
Dianne Ewing for the Welcoming Congregation group.