Unitarian Universalism is very supportive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) people, their families, and loved ones. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) strives for radical inclusion and has officially welcomed this community since 1970. We believe that our first principle, respecting “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” applies equally to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Today, most Unitarian Universalist Congregations are recognized as Welcoming Congregations. The program is supported by LGBTQIA+ Ministries. For more information, please visit http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/index.shtml.
First launched in 1990, the Welcoming Congregation Program grew out of a desire to undo homophobia and later transphobia in our hearts and minds, our congregations, and our communities. This volunteer program was developed for Unitarian Universalist congregations desiring to take intentional steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities.
BBUUC initially worked for several years to incorporate education, congregational life, and community outreach focused on LGBTQIA+ issues. In 2009, BBUUC was awarded recognition as an “official” Welcoming Congregation, after meeting the requirements and voting unanimously to affirm this designation. The Welcoming Congregation Ministry is now referred to as the Rainbow/Welcoming Congregation Ministry. In regular reaffirmation of its continuing commitment to equality and inclusion, BBUUC participates in the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Five Practices of Welcoming Renewal.
BBUUC has now transformed the achievements of the Welcoming Congregation Program into a Ministry that is part of the fabric of our congregation. The Rainbow/Welcoming Ministry is tasked with building relationships and fostering awareness of LGBTQIA+ people, their families, and loved ones with activities that encourage acceptance of, understanding of, and respect for LGBTQIA+ identity in oneself and others.
Our Rainbow Ministry has led us in participation in the Jacksonville Pride Parade and Festival events for several years. We have been involved in state government lobbying/meeting events in Tallahassee, and also bring our message of inclusion to other events throughout the community. The Ministry seeks to serve LGBTQIA+ people within our congregation, as well as the congregation as a whole, and the community. Volunteers who work in this Ministry are also tasked with making sure that LGBTQIA+ sensitivities are maintained within the church, throughout worship, celebrations, programs, governance, social affairs, and activities.