Hooray for marriage equality! We now have it in Colorado! But all states still do not have it. Some of our UUCB members and others in our community had to leave Colorado to get married in the past! October was GLBT History month and Oct. 11 was Coming Out Day. It’s still a good time to share the coming-out and wedding stories of our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or ourselves. The more stories we hear the more understanding and more welcoming we become.
More than ten years ago UUCB became officially a “Welcoming Congregation.” This title means that our congregation worked for more than a year to make our church particularly welcoming to lesbians, gays, and bisexual people (LGB). Over the years the program expanded to include transgendered people, queer, intersexed, and asexual people as well as straight people. The UUA has set requirements that we completed to receive official recognition. We revised our by-laws to use inclusive language. We reviewed the Religious Education program for inclusivity. Several sermons addressed LGB issues. We offered a class to learn about issues affecting LGB people. We offered the class during the year at three different times to accommodate as many of our schedules as possible. We asked all committees to see how they could be more welcoming.
Since that initial work, we have grown and the UUA has expanded the program. The UUA now asks people to learn about trans people and others who may call themselves queer or who may be intersexed or are asexual. The letters designating the varieties of sexuality have become an alphabet soup. The letters appear in different orders in different places and they are a mouthful—LGBTAIQ! We have decided it is easier to just say “Welcoming Congregation.” Many Protestant churches are also involved in becoming more welcoming; they have chosen the term “Open and Affirming,” which means they welcome LGBTAIQ people.
We have also worked in the past to be more welcoming to people of all races, economic status, abilities, ages, and backgrounds. The Welcoming Congregation program does not mean that we do not value the other diverse classifications into which we sometimes put people. We believe in the dignity and worth of all human beings.
Last year we began some more work to renew our Welcoming Congregation status. This year we will continue expanding our knowledge and offering opportunities for us all to become more welcoming and to renew our Welcoming Congregation status with the UUA.