We, the congregation of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Arlington, are committed to affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person and promoting justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. In living out this commitment, we recognize the importance of warmly and explicitly welcoming those among us who otherwise experience exclusion and oppression in the larger community. Because gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people experience social and legal discriminations that prohibit a full expression of their humanity, it is our desire to create a safe and affirming place that is overtly welcoming of the gifts and talents and individuality of every person, enabling all individuals and families to fully participate in the spiritual and social life of our parish community.
Our Welcoming Congregation Charter
We are a Welcoming Congregation, committed to being inclusive and expressive of the concerns and spiritual needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons among us in every aspect of congregational life—worship, ceremonies of passage, education, committees, programs, and activities. In our intentional and affirming welcoming, we of First Parish are guided by the following principles:
- Worship and Spiritual Life: We strive for total inclusiveness with respect to language used, sermon content, issues addressed in services, invited speakers and ministers, and ceremonies performed, so that people of diverse sexual orientations feel included and welcome, and all share in the full, healing warmth of this congregation’s faith and love. We seek a fully inclusive dialogue about who we are and how we come to understand ourselves and each other in the context of our spiritual life.
- Religious Education: We emphasize inclusivity and tolerance and strive to broaden our personal understanding of others, in age-appropriate terms, leading us to loving acceptance of one another in all our diversity.
- Social Education and Social Life: We seek to increase our collective understanding of the issues and concerns of people of all sexual orientations through a variety of programs, events, course offerings, and social justice activities.
- Governance: The actions and language of governance in all areas of congregational life adhere to non-discriminatory principles.
- Committees and Programs: Committee members and program sponsors actively explore how their activities can enhance, support, and be consonant with the congregation’s welcoming intent.
- Public Relations and Community Outreach: We create public awareness of our support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and families.
—Adopted (unanimously!) by First Parish, May 5, 1996