An LGBTQ Welcoming Congregation
We are a Welcoming Congregation, recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association. This means we affirm and include people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer at every level of congregational life—in worship, in program, and in social occasions—welcoming them as whole people.
As a Welcoming Congregation we have pledged to:
- honor the lives of all people and equally affirm displays of caring and affection without regard for sexual orientation.
- celebrate diversity by using inclusive language and content in worship.
- incorporate an understanding of the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons throughout all of our programs, including religious education.
- affirm and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues and history.
- affirm marriage equality and conduct same-sex weddings.
- advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, promoting justice, freedom, and equality in the larger society. We speak out when the rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are at stake.
Our congregation includes individuals and families who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender who participate fully in congregational life. UUCSJS voted in 2001 to become a “Welcoming Congregation.”
“Welcoming Congregation” is a program sponsored by the UUA. To participate, a congregation engages in a series of workshops which feature consciousness raising and learning about LGBTQ issues and history.
After completing the series, the congregation votes whether to be officially designated as a Welcoming Congregation. By doing this they affirm that any LGBTQ person visiting or wanting to become a member will find a welcoming and life-affirming environment.
UUCSJS completed the workshops and education in 2000 and 2001, followed by a vote by the congregation in which every voice was heard. Since then we have participated in gay pride events, devoted Sunday Services to LGBTQ issues, held Transgender Day of Remembrance memorials, and sponsored LGBTQ support groups which meet in our building.
We also sponsor an Interweave group that meets every third Sunday for fellowship and activism. Visit their page, or find them on Facebook at Interweave of the South Jersey Shore. In addition, we sponsor a support group that meets every third Tuesday at 6:30 PM at our center. All are welcome to drop in!
In 2006, we invited Marc Adams of Heartstrong as a guest speaker at a Sunday Service. At the time, we were renting space at the Catholic Campus Ministry Center at Richard Stockton College. Some members of the Knights of Columbus did not like this, and on November 3, a lawyer for the Diocese of Camden communicated to UUCSJS that our lease for rental of the Campus Catholic Ministry Center was null and void and that we would not be allowed in the building Sunday morning. A direct response by the lawyer for the UUCSJS caused the Diocese to modify their position and allow use of the facility that Sunday. (Ironically, Marc Adams was ill and was not able to deliver his message November 5.)
Within a week UUCSJS was notified that the Diocese of Camden would exercise their option to terminate the building use agreement with 90 days notice (February 7, 2007). Thus began our search for a new facility which led us to the Absecon Lions Center for the Blind, which we occupied for the next several years until our own building was completed.
We warmly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning persons and families to the UUCSJS community. Bring your whole self!