The Welcoming Congregation Program

In the 1980s and 90s, when the word “welcoming” became a code word for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, the Unitarian Universalist Association launched a Welcoming Congregation Program to help us learn how to undo homophobia—and later, transphobia (prejudice against transgender people)—in our hearts and minds, our congregations, and our communities.

Today, most Unitarian Universalist congregations are recognized Welcoming Congregations. The spiritual practice of welcome is a very important one to our faith community.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City is renewing our Welcoming Congregation status to ensure that we are living our principles, especially in relation to the LGBTQ+ community.

Here you will learn about the steps we are taking in the renewal program and discover important information about how our congregation can become more welcoming and inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Our Congregation is dedicated to learning more about LGBTQ+ issues in order to become a more welcoming congregation.  We are in the process of renewing our UUA “Welcoming Congregation" certification.

The Welcoming Congregation Committee (WCC) has initiated several programs to help us along this journey:

1. Focus Groups to encourage discussion and clarification of ideas about the LGBTQ+ community.
2. Three-minute presentations at the beginning of worship services to share information about language and attitudes.
3. Transforming Hearts Collective Modules online.

Transforming Hearts Collective

Here are the links to each of the modules if you wish to watch them again or for the first time. You will need to contact our Membership Committee Chair, welcome@uustudiocity.org, for a username and password.

 Intro to Beloved Community: Module 1

Gender and our Faith Community: Module 2

Unpacking the Gender Binary: Module 3

Trans Experience: Module 4

The Role of Culture: Module 5

Creating Culture Shift: Module 6

Welcoming Congregation Certification Committee Program Review

From late 2019 until the present (February 2021), The WCCC has been working to engage our church community through our UU Principles to become more welcoming and inclusive to the LGBTQIA community, especially to Transgender individuals.

Attached below is the report prepared by members of the Welcoming Congregation Certification Committee: Barbara Allen, Antoinette Scully, Nancy Holland, Jolly Hollamon, Nicole Thibadeaux, Laurel Ross, Ken Ross, Terry Hassman Paulin, Amber Brown and Rachel Bennett Steury.

 Program Review

Inviting vs. Inclusive vs. Radically Welcoming Congregations

Open the PDF below to explore the differences between an "inviting congregation," an "inclusive congregation," and a "radically welcoming" congregation. This approach is based on the work of Pastor Stephanie Spellers, who wrote the book Radical Welcome and whose work was listed as a resource in Transforming Hearts Module 6, "Creating Culture Shift."

  Moving From Inviting to Inclusion to Radical Welcome

Iceberg Model
Bull’s-Eye Model

The congregation had an after-service and an evening session to discuss the “Iceberg Model,” introduced in Module 5, The Role of Culture in Trans Exclusion, of the “Transforming Hearts Collective” video series. This document, prepared in early 2021, is a compilation of all the ideas expressed by the folks who attended these sessions.

  Iceberg Model Compilation

The congregation had an after-service and an evening session to discuss the “Bull’s-Eye Model,” introduced in Module 5, The Role of Culture, of the “Transforming Hearts Collective” video series. This document, prepared in early 2021, is a compilation of all the ideas expressed by the folks who attended these sessions.

  Bull's Eye Model Compilation

Three-Minute Presentations

November 3, 2019: What do the letters mean?

The letters LGBTQIA2S +++ can be confusing. Barbara Allen explains what they mean.


November 17, 2019: What do the terms mean?

Some terms may not be familiar to you. Barbara Allen explains the meaning of the terms "gender queer," "non-binary," and "gender fluid."


February 9, 2020: Valentine’s Day: A Contentious Holiday?

Jolly Hollamon offers suggestions for ways to celebrate what can be a difficult day for many folks.

Jolly Hollamon Valentine's Day