What it means to be a LGBTQ+ Welcoming Congregation!
The Welcoming Congregation Program is a program for Unitarian Universalist congregations that want to take intentional steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities. The term “Welcoming Congregation” has a special meaning in our faith tradition; fulfilling the program and the achievement of receiving its designation represents our commitment to offering an abiding welcome to LGBTQ+ individuals and families.
Religious communities have perpetuated and supported prejudice and violence against the LGBTQ+ community for centuries. The "Welcoming Congregation" designation helps UU congregations explicitly tell the queer community that there is a religious community where they can be affirmed, loved, and embraced for who they are.
First launched in 1990, the Welcoming Congregation program grew out of an understanding that although we pride ourselves on being liberal, affirming, and welcoming, there remained widespread prejudices and ignorance about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people within our congregations. This program actively combats that ignorance and encourages congregational growth. Congregations apply for recognition through the Unitarian Universalist Association and receive an affirmation of the "welcoming" designation; the certification requires an annual renewal through ongoing education, worship, and events.
First Parish is intentionally learning more about how to actively and explicitly welcome the LGBTQ+ community. We host educational programs and workshops, celebrate worship that explores LGBTQ+ history and current issues, battle toxic cultures of ignorance and shame, make our congregational life more inclusive, and connect with the wider community to support LGBTQ+ causes, justice, and equality. This is an ongoing process of reflection, education, and advocacy.
Meet the Welcoming Congregation Committee!
Lynn Hover, Committee Chair
Our intrepid 2017-2018 Welcoming Congregation committee: From Left to Right: Bill Sevrens, Bruce Ferguson, Brenda Neagle, Jocelyn Hand, Lynn Hover, Carmel Drewes, Susan Ferguson, and Rev. Sarah Napoline. (Meeting hosted by the House of Brews, hence the poor lighting!)
Pride Worship 2018
Photos from the Welcoming Congregation launch event! (September 2017)
First Parish in Stoughton
790 Washington Street • P.O. Box 284 Stoughton, Massachusetts 02072 tel: 781-344-6800