The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal

In the late 1980s, the UUA’s Common Vision Planning Committee issued a 21 page report upon the state of our affairs regarding our welcoming of gay, lesbian and bisexual persons. Although we had been saying that we were open and welcoming to the LGBT community for three decades at that point, this report concluded otherwise.

Among other things, the report recommended the adoption of a Welcoming Congregation program. This program, to help congregations welcome gay, lesbian and bisexual persons was launched in 1990 and has been completed by over 800 UU congregations (including UUMAN). The Welcoming Congregations curriculum was last updated in 2002 and was discontinued in 2014.

Much has changed since 2002: how we talk about gender, identity, the nuance that goes well beyond the original gay, lesbian and bisexual categories. This necessitates further education. Last year, the UUA recognized this and has now launched a new program entitled the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal. Moving forward, Welcoming Congregations will be required to meet the following benchmarks annually to remain “current” as a Welcoming Congregation:

  1. Become a Welcoming Congregation
  2. Welcoming Worship Services
  3. Welcoming Days of Observance
  4. Annual Welcoming Congregation Module
  5. Support a Welcoming Project

I’ll describe each of them briefly.


  1. Becoming a Welcoming Congregation

Complete the old Welcoming Congregations program. UUMAN has already done this and has satisfied this benchmark.



  1. Welcoming Worship Services

Include at least two Welcoming Worship Services into the liturgical schedule that uplifts the themes of LGBTQ+ welcome and inclusion

  1. Welcoming Days of Observance

Celebrate, reflect, observe the Welcoming Days of Observance throughout the year by featuring a prayer, Stories for All Ages, Chalice Lighting/Extinguishing, song, art form, etc. that honors the occasion.

An example could be the celebration of Coming Out Day (October 11).

  1. Annual Welcoming Congregation Module

Complete a Welcoming Congregation Module – a webinar or seminar made available to the congregation and community that informs, educates, and raises awareness about the issues and needs of the LGBTQ+ community.  As an example, we have purchased an online, six-session course entitled “Transgender Inclusion In Congregations.” It is available to anyone in the congregation. It can be taken individually or as a group. 10% of our congregation must participate in a welcoming congregation module to satisfy this requirement.

  1. Support a Welcoming Project

Donate to or volunteer with an LGBTQ+ organization, campaign, or project.


Mallory Cundiff has graciously volunteered to lead us in this Welcoming Congregation renewal process year over year. Thank you Mallory!!!We are grateful to you!

Please, do not hesitate to contact Mallory of myself if you have any questions or wish to be involved.

Thank you!

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