We Are a Welcoming Congregation

UU Rainbow Chalice

MSUS seeks to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.

The Welcoming Congregation Program is a voluntary program developed by the UUA for congregations seeking to be inclusive towards bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (LGBTQ) adults and youth. Because LGBTQ people are often met with a disproportionate amount of fear, ignorance, or outright hostility when attempting to participate in religious communities, the UUA developed this program to help UU churches reach out specifically to bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The UUA offers sixteen action steps as a guideline for UU congregations who seek to become a Welcoming Congregation. One of the action steps is to include specific language in the organization's non-discrimination statement in the bylaws, policies, and organizational literature. Today, 66% of U.S. Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations and 94% of Canadian UU congregations are recognized as Welcoming Congregations. The program is supported by LGBTQ Ministries.

On May 12th 2004, at the annual meeting of the congregation, MSUS voted to become a Welcoming Congregation.

Opportunities and Information

North Metro (Anoka) Parent and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meets the 2nd Thursday of every month from 7:15-8:30 PM at First Congregational United Church of Christ at 1923 Third Avenue South in Anoka. All are welcome.

Recent Anoka/North Metro PFLAG events have included:

  • Leaders of the Anoka Hennepin School District Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) groups lead a discussion about the school district’s "Neutrality Policy" and what isn't working in the district when everyone is "neutral."
  • Special guest speaker Janet Bystrom, LICSW – the Director of RECLAIM, an organization devoted to increasing access to mental support so that LGBT youth may reclaim their lives. Please contact RECLAIM at reclaim.lgbtyouth@gmail.com or 612-235-6743 for more information.

The Welcoming Congregation Bulletin is an e-newsletter from LGBTQ Ministries, part of the Multicultural Ministries office of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each monthly issue offers a tool to use, an action to take, a story to inspire, and news to share.

Our Journey to Becoming a Welcoming Congregation Began May, 2003

Around 2000, MSUS began the process of becoming a Welcoming Congregation as designated by the UUA. For a variety of reasons the process was not completed. At the May, 2003, annual meeting the congregation voted to begin the process again. Janice and Jerry Sankot agreed to chair the committee.

Our vision was to go beyond the Welcoming Congregation Program. By taking this first step, we hoped to explore more issues than those presented - sexism, racism, ableism, and others. The hope was that becoming a Welcoming Congregation would act as a catalyst to learning more about ourselves and to ending exclusion. Only when we are truly open to the wealth of diversity in our world will the inherent worth and dignity of every person be affirmed with a large voice.

The Committee offered a series of workshops with the following goals:

  • To explore thoughts, feelings, and current knowledge about sexual orientation (homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality) and gender identification (transgender identity);
  • To probe the origins of our beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identification;
  • To understand the experiences of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people;
  • To see the effects of heterosexism and homophobia on people of all sexual orientations and gender identifications in Unitarian Universalist congregations;
  • To devise individual and institutional strategies for UU congregations to become more welcoming to bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people and their families.

The Committee works with other MSUS committees and interest groups as well as the larger outside community to promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.