We Unitarian Universalists struggle when it’s time to define and describe our identity by using elevator speeches on our faith or enunciating all our principles and sources.. But when it comes to issues that define the times we live in, we know exactly where we stand and what to say. Promoting justice, responsible research for truth and meaning or celebrating ways to express love for all people are part of who we are and that we choose to define us.
Being welcoming means striving in our daily lives to create spaces that honor every part of our identities, backgrounds, and experiences. Practicing radical hospitality means standing for the right to live and love, especially for people facing challenges arising from their sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, politics, disabilities. And if taking a clear stand on these issues causes disagreements and conflicts, these last reactions can be welcomed with grace, wisdom and compassion.
In 1987 the Common Vision Planning Committee was established by our association to gather information about how welcome and accepted LGBTQI+ people felt in their UU congregations. The report published two years later exposed many negative attitudes, deep prejudices, and profound ignorance about their choices, which resulted in their exclusion from their congregations. As a result of these findings, in the same year (1989) GA voted to initiate the Welcoming Congregation Program, opening the path for our community to become a LGBTQ Welcoming Congregation
When experiences of disruption, violation, harassment can make people feel the need of belonging in a new community, can we offer them our open hands, hearts, minds and souls? … a place where people can stick together and stand up for one another? When we make space for others coming to us from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, we put our faith and identity in action, not only in terms of hopes and intentions. Our lifetime growth as UUs needs to be affirmed in the midst of our daily lives by building bridges toward the “emotional places” where people are. Openhearted diversity can give new depths to our shared beliefs and open new horizons in our lives.