First Parish of Brewster was the First Welcoming Congregation: The Answer to Today’s Trivia Question

The first UU congregation to be certified under the Welcoming Congregation program was First Parish Brewster, in Massachusetts.  They were certified in 1991, the year after the Welcoming program began.  Seventeen years later, more than half of UUA-affiliated congregations are Welcoming, with more in process to receive the designation.

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3 Comments

Filed under Liberal Religious History, Unitarian-Universalism

3 responses to “First Parish of Brewster was the First Welcoming Congregation: The Answer to Today’s Trivia Question

  1. We’re still only at “more than half”? That’s sad. I’d like to see “more than two-thirds” soon. I wouldn’t want to be a member of a congregation that isn’t a Welcoming Cong. Welcoming and accepting LGBTQ folks is a major priority.

    Apparently, James Reeb UU Congregation in Madison, WI is one of only two of our total number of congregations that has re-certified Welcoming Congregation status.

  2. I think the Welcoming Congregation system needs a complete overhaul, that requires congregations to re-certify at least every 10 years.

    I look at the congregation I grew up in (First UU Ann Arbor, also one of the first ones certified, as one of the congregations that tested the programme) and while it’s very welcoming of peoples LGBTQ identity, if you don’t appear as if you make $150,000 a year, you’re not likely to feel welcomed, and there’s any number of younger folk from the university and its surrounds that find this disturbing to say the least.

    In the end, I don’t see where the welcoming congregation system really helps us. After 16+ years of being a welcoming congregation, how many people in these oldest of welcoming congregations have any knowledge of the process that was gone through? Do newer members adhere to the covenant that the congregation made with itself? Those in the youth groups have never known a time that the congregation wasn’t “welcoming”, what buy-in do these, the young UUs have in that welcoming mentality?

    Half, two-thirds, seven eighths, it means nothing if it’s not a LIVING process.

  3. d26bryan

    I am (and was in 1991) a member of FPB (http://firstparish-brewster.org). Being a welcoming congregation has been great for us – diversity, leadership, growth. As a member of the search committee this year, it was gratifying to be part of an overwhelmingly positive (234-2) vote to call our new co-ministry team, Mary McKinnon Ganz and JD Benson, a lesbian couple. JD and Mary are two of the finest ministers in the denomination, but they might not have been welcomed so warmly without our almost 20 years of welcoming congregation activities. For us, it IS a living process.

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