LGBT Welcoming Congregation
A purple poster taped to the front window of Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs after we got our certification, read, We are a Welcoming Congregation. This Unitarian Universalist community welcomes and celebrates the presence and participation of bisexual, gay, lesbian and/or transgender persons. (more about becoming a Welcoming Congregation)
LGBT persons are integrated into our congregation and enjoying our current programs, including our Sun. services (see lay and guest minister sermons, many mention lgbt or focus on the subject), Religious Education for children, small group ministries and other events. We could start a small group ministry for LGBT people if there was a desire to create the new program.
Standing on the Side of Love
Davies has been officially recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a Welcoming Congregation. Nearly 60% of the Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States have received that recognition.
Becoming a Welcoming Congregation was a natural following to the congregation’s decision to become an intentionally racially diverse congregation. A major part of that experience was a desire to reflect the ethnic makeup of the surrounding community and to enter into dialogue and conversation with each other.
At a Jubilee Workshop, three of the six breakout groups independently suggested that Davies should become a Welcoming Congregation. The time was right and the church was ready. More about the history about the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association on LGBT issues is here.
The church, through the leadership of its Religious Education Director, offered the “Our Whole Lives” sexuality curriculum to middle school students both in the church and in the community. The church also held a series of eight workshops which were attended by approximately one-third of the congregation. “La Vie en Rose,” a Belgian movie, was shown, followed by discussion. One church member said, “It felt as though we had learned the skill of sharing thoughtfully and listening carefully from our discussions on race and ethnicity. There was a sense that welcoming of people with all of the diverse kinds of sexuality that go with the human condition would be part of our emerging cultural and racial diversity.”
One major focus, besides continuing to be welcoming to lgbt newcomers, has been to lobby in the State Capital for the adoption of equal marriage status legislation.