Universalist Unitarian Church
Santa Paula, California
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A Welcoming Congregation

Welcoming Congregation Logo
The Welcoming Congregation Committee and program at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula formed in the early spring of 2001. The program is dedicated to creating, fostering, and maintaining awareness of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) issues as they relate to our Church’s members and potential members.

The committee was formed with Rev. Lex Crane, Ginny Crane, June Hopkins, and Jerry Gray as members. June and Jerry co-facilitated six of the UUA’s Welcoming Congregation workshops, beginning in March and continuing through May. All workshops were very well attended, with a third of the Congregation’s members taking part in most of the programs. At this same time, the Church’s bylaws and other documents were reviewed for inclusiveness and any inadvertant discriminatory language.

A panel discussion workshop held on May 1 was of particular importance and impact. Six Ventura County citizens made short introductory speeches and then allowed our group to ask questions relating to the lives of GLBT people living among us. All in attendance were impressed and learned how alike all people are, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The vote to amend our bylaws and to announce our Welcoming nature and status was called for and voted on at a Special Congregational meeting held June 10. The congregation voted unanimously in the affirmative on both issues.

We at UUCSP have for years done many of the things that the UUA requires of Welcoming Congregations, such as performing Union ceremonies, having sermons of gay content and/or interest, and incorporating GLBT people in all aspects of church life. This made offering and executing the program relatively easy to do and enjoyable.

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