First warmly welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ / TGQNB communities.
The Welcoming Congregation program is a voluntary program for UU communities that choose to take active steps to ensure that individuals with marginalized sexual orientation and gender identities feel fully welcomed and centered. This program was developed by the Unitarian-Universalist Association (UUA) over twenty-five years ago. First Unitarian Toronto was first certified as a Welcoming Congregation by the Canadian Unitarian Council in 1998, and was recertified in 2008 after completing the program a second time with special emphasis on trans issues.
The UUA developed a renewal program in 2015, offering excellent guidance for engaging in this process. It involves four annual benchmarks:
- Incorporating Welcoming Worship Services into the regular calendar of worship.
- Including annual recognition and celebration of Welcoming Days of Observance.
- Offering Welcoming Religious Education.
- Supporting a Welcoming Project that “uplifts the dignity of LGBTQ+ / TGQNB communities.”
Congregations completing the Welcoming Congregation program may affirm with a congregational vote that they welcome the membership and active participation of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
To meet the needs of our particular congregation, First’s Welcoming Congregation Leadership Team undertook a needs assessment in the fall of 2019. The input gave us rich information about who our members are, and how members as individuals and collectively experience life in the First community. This data will inform our plans for congregational activities and help evolve our knowledge, values, and behaviours to ensure we are truly open and welcoming to all.