Are you interested in creative ideas that will help you increase the welcome your congregation offers to LGBTQ+ people? We are! Over the next year, we’ll offer you a brief tip each week, with practical advice and useful links to other material. Some of the ideas will be a perfect fit for your community, others will be better suited for others. These are meant to be suggestions and conversation starters. You can choose what will work best for you. Our goal is to help congregations think innovatively about how to build welcoming, affirming spaces for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in your communities.
This first week is perhaps the most important step you can take to become more welcoming—determining if your community is ready to expand and include more LGBTQ+ people. How would your congregation react if twice as many or more LGBTQ+ people began to attend worship and programs in your community? Would people be delighted? Anxious? Concerned? Hopeful? Take a minute and imagine this scenario and select a few words that you think will best describe your congregation. Ask a few other folks in your community to do the same thing.
If your congregation has not yet undertaken a formal process to study and declare a welcome to LGBTQ people, we suggest you start there. Check with your denomination for programs that can help you, if applicable. The Institute for Welcoming Resources also has many useful guides (particularly applicable to Jewish, Christian and Unitarian groups). If you went through this process many years ago, it might be helpful to re-visit it.
If you are eager and ready to welcome more LGBTQ+ people and our families into your pews, read on in the coming weeks! If you have suggestions based on what is working in your communities, we’d love to hear those as well.