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. The program is supported by the  UUA LGBTQ Ministries.

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

LGBTQ Resources

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 (Downtown Anoka corner of 3rd Ave. and Main St). All are welcome.

Their Mission:
PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through:

  • Support to cope with an adverse society
  • Education to enlighten an ill-informed public
  • Advocacy to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights

RECLAIM "works to increase access to mental health support so that queer and trans youth may reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms. Reclaim partners with youth ages 13 – 25 who are marginalized because of their gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation."  612-235-6743

Avenues for Homeless Youth "provides emergency shelter, short-term housing and supportive services for homeless youth in a safe and nurturing environment." 612-522-1690

The Minnesota Transgender Alliance Support Group "provides resources and support to all members within the transgender community." 612-787-2671

Transforming Families "is a community where transgender, gender non-conforming, and questioning youth and their families come together to support each other in a safe, welcoming space. At their monthly gatherings, separate breakout groups for parents, kids, siblings, and teens provide the opportunity to meet and learn from other people traveling the same path." 612-321-8416

Out & Sober Minnesota (part of Alcholics Anonymous - AA) "is an organization dedicated to reconnecting LGBTQ addicts and alcoholics with the community and helping them build healthy clean and sober networks."  info@outandsoberminnesota.org

The Welcoming Congregation Bulletin is an e-newsletter from the UUA ulticultural Ministries and Welcoming Congregations. 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.