Living the Welcoming Congregation Program
Co-chairs: Jeanie Michalec and Tracy Boland
The mission of the Living the Welcoming Congregation Program is, in accord with the covenant and principles of our church and UU faith, to promote active congregational support for welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people and including them fully in church life, and to increase congregational awareness of issues of equality and justice for LGBT people, through communication, education and collaboration with other church programs and committees.
The Living the Welcoming Congregation (LWC) Program, designed by the UUA as a follow-up to the Welcoming Congregation Program, continues the work accomplished by Countryside Church during 2006-2007 that culminated in our vote on May 20, 2007, to become a Welcoming Congregation.
For more information about the Living the Welcoming Congregation Program at Countryside Church UU, email LWC@ccuu.org.
Towards the goal of raising congregational awareness of issues of equality and justice for LGBT people, our committee has made rainbow stickers available for members to place on their nametags. As you may know, the rainbow is known throughout the world as a sign of diversity and inclusiveness, of hope and of yearning. By wearing a rainbow sticker, you will be asking the Countryside community to support your desire for equality for all people. The rainbow sticker is a symbol that you remain hopeful and yearn for ongoing growth and awareness. Rainbow stickers will be available at the nametag board. Please take one and wear it as a symbol of welcome, hope, and unity.
How CCUU Lives the Welcoming Congregation: Our Activities
The LWC committee coordinates with other committees and programs in the church to plan and implement activities that further our mutual goals of inclusiveness, diversity, social justice and equal rights for LGBT people: Adult Faith Development for educational movie nights and discussions; Social Action for participation in service projects; the Music Program and Music Director for music with relevant themes; the Religious Education Program and RE Director for age-appropriate learning; the Minister and Worship Council for worship services on LGBT themes; and Rainbow Friends to plan and participate in activities to promote welcoming and inclusion of LGBT people.
Our church newsletter includes updates on the work of the Living the Welcoming Congregation Program committee’s work. A brochure about the Living the Welcoming Congregation program (LWC), our history and current activities, is included in new member packets and placed with other CCUU and UUA informational pamphlets. We also provide rainbow stickers for member nametags.
The LWC committee supports legislation that promotes social justice and legal equality and participates in e-mail and letter writing on political issues pertinent to LGBT issues. Some committee members are active in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality Illinois.
Members of CCUU participate in many ways to promote equality and justice for LGBT people. Our church covenant, repeated in unison every week, uses inclusive language. Our Worship Committee gives guidelines on inclusive language to worship associates and facilitators. Our church provides services for LGBT rites of passage, including union services and dedication of children. We have services that celebrate all kinds of families, including LGBT couples raising children. Our church directory and other publications recognize same sex couples by listing their names together, as requested. Our minister, Rev. Hilary Landau Krivchenia, champions and uses inclusive language in services and in her contact with church members and the larger community.
The RE curriculum and library contain LGBT-related materials. For many years, CCUU has provided Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education classes for more than 70 young people in K-1, Grades 4-5, Junior and Senior High. In 2007 and 2009, our church hosted area-wide training for OWL leaders from other churches as well as our own.
Our church provides meeting space for LGBT support groups. Many CCUU adult members and youth, in addition to LWC committee members, attend the Pride parade and participate in Pride Week activities.
LWC remains committed to educating the larger community about Countryside Church’s LGBT-affirmative environment and the church’s dedication to social justice on a broad scale.