The letter below was recently submitted to my hometown newspaper.
After I nailed a rainbow flag to the little column on our building’s front entrance, a friend in town asked me, “Aren’t you afraid that people will think that your congregation is a GAY church?” My response was, “No, I want them to KNOW we are a gay church – and a church for lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and questioning people – as well as a church for lots of great straight folks who are advocates and allies!” Indeed, the rainbow flag is a symbol of our new “Welcoming Congregation” status. Our denomination encourages congregations to go through a long series of workshops and demonstrate competencies in welcoming and affirming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) people before providing the congregation with this status. Although we feel that we’ve been welcoming from the beginning of our existence in the mid-80’s, we are now proud to have this official designation.
Our Unitarian Universalist denomination has been on record since 1970 in its support of rights of LGBTQ individuals, and voted to support full marriage equality in 1996. However, many congregations realized the need to prepare themselves further in their efforts to be welcoming and to serve as advocates for the rights of all people, regardless of sexual or affectional orientation. I am proud that our congregation has now taken those steps. We will be celebrating our new Welcoming Congregation status in our service at 10:30 on Sunday, February 19 at our building at 609 East Grady Street.
I invite your readers who may identify as LGBTQ or as allies to visit us. Yes, there is a fully welcoming church community here in Statesboro! And as a Statesboro native, I am very proud to call this community my home. Thanks for helping us to spread this good news!
Standing on the Side of Love!
Rev. Jane Altman Page
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro