Welcoming Congregations

The Welcoming Congregation Program

In the 1980s and 90s, when the word “welcoming” became a code word for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, the Unitarian Universalist Association launched a Welcoming Congregation Program to help us learn how to undo homophobia—and later, transphobia (prejudice against transgender people)—in our hearts and minds, our congregations, and our communities.

Today, most Unitarian Universalist congregations are recognized Welcoming Congregations. The spiritual practice of welcome is a very important one to our faith community.

The requirements for recognition as a Welcoming Congregation are:

  1. Measurable achievements in the areas of education, congregational life, and community outreach, using the Welcoming Congregation Guidelines and Action Steps as a guide.
  2. A congregational vote in affirmation of being recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a Welcoming Congregation (see below).

In addition, congregations are encouraged to pay particular attention to the following topics: transgender issues, bisexual and queer issues, and the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity with other identity factors like age, race/ethnicity, class, and ability. Because these issues are often glossed over by the mainstream, there is a real need for these discussions in our congregations. 

Find a Welcoming Congregation Near You!