In 2001, our church members voted to become a "Welcoming Congregation" to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. We are represented in the Gay Pride Parade each year and, in July, sponsor an Art Show featuring gay and lesbian artists. Through our newsletter and occasional worship services on gay issues, our members are kept informed about homophobia. There is a small section of books about GLBT matters in our library.
Background: In 2000-2001, a Welcoming Congregation task force held a series of workshops on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues at the church, resulting in a nearly unanimous vote at a congregational meeting in May, 2001 affirming First Unitarian Church of Victoria as a Welcoming Congregation."
Later that year, a Welcoming Congregation Committee was formed to further the objectives of the task force and these policies and guidelines were suggested for it:
Policy: To encourage the congregation to be open and welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons (g/l/b/t) by:
- Increasing the awareness of the congregation about gay/lesbian issues by keeping them informed
- Encouraging both adult and childrens religious education programs to incorporate g/l/b/t life issues where appropriate, including the Our Whole Lives program.
- Celebrating and affirming g/l/b/t issues and history during the church year, including Gay Pride Week in July and National Coming Out Day in October.
- Participating in and/or supporting efforts to create justice, freedom and equality for g/l/b/t people in the larger society.
- Establishing and maintaining contact with local g/l/b/t groups to offer support and promote dialogue and interaction.
Guidelines: To take the following actions:
- Advertise in the local press and other media that reach the g/l/b/t communities
- Submit to the Victoria Unitarian, on an occasional basis, an update of g/l/b/t issues in Canada, with particular emphasis on C.U.C. involvement.
- Promote participation in Gay Pride Week with a group of Unitarian marchers in the Pride Parade and a Unitarian booth at the park following the parade.
- Make accessible to members pamphlets and other material, including books in the church library.
- Monitor the use of inclusive language and content in worship services.
- Discuss with the minister and the Worship Committee the inclusion of services on g/l/b/t issues from time to time.
More recently, in January, 2009, our church passed a congregational motion stating:
We seek to build a congregation and a society made whole by the empowerment of all. We seek to be a people of diverse racial identities, diverse ethnicities, diverse cultures, diverse languages. We celebrate the presence of people of all ages, abilities, and economic levels. We are welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions. We value and celebrate diversity. We endeavour to reflect the diversity of our society in our congregation, organizations and community. We strive to respect all people. We hope that all who visit, join, participate, or serve our congregation will extend the same respect to those they meet here. In honour of the above, we seek to promote diversity, respect, and the inclusion of all, in our congregation and in our community.
|First Unitarian Church of Victoria
5575 West Saanich Road
|Office: (250) 744-2665 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ministers: (250) 744-2601, cell (250) 891-6330
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
|Director of Spiritual Exploration and Learning for Children and Youth
(250) 744-2695 FayeM@victoriaunitarian.ca
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