Full Inclusion: A Congregational Self-Assessment, part 1

Preaching & Worship

In its worship services, sacraments and rituals, the inclusive congregation:

  • Provides opportunities for openly LGBT persons (both lay members and clergy) to participate and lead

  • Publishes a statement of welcome in the worship program or bulletin that specifically names LGBT persons

  • Names LGBT congregants and raises LGBT issues and concerns in congregational prayers.

  • Explicitly addresses issues relevant to LGBT congregants (e.g., marriage equality, nondiscrimination and hate crimes legislation, adoption rights, ordination and other denominational issues) in sermons, education and social action

  • Includes (as permitted by its faith tradition) LGBT people and families in all sacraments and rites provided for other congregants, such as marriages, baptisms, naming ceremonies, confirmations and funerals

  • Challenges scriptural interpretations and religious doctrines that denigrate women, proscribe homosexuality, and promote heterosexism

  • Uses sacred texts to support and celebrate LGBT people, e.g.,

    • Genesis 1:26-28 2

    • Samuel 1:26 (and the story of Jonathan and David)

    • Ruth 1:1-18 (and the story of Ruth and Naomi)

    • Matthew 19:10-12

    • Acts 8:26-40

    • Galatians 3:28

  • Incorporates other texts (poetry, prose and music) created by LGBT persons or celebrating LGBT lives

  • Creates rituals, prayers or other ways to acknowledge important events in the lives of LGBT congregants, such as

    • A congregant’s decision to come out as openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender

    • A congregant’s decision to begin gender transition, including the changing of her or his name

    • The celebration of a same-sex couple’s anniversary (regardless of whether it is a “wedding” anniversary)

    • The celebration of the adoption of a child, or a co-parent adoption by a same-sex couple of lesbian/gay individual

    • Healing service or prayers for LGBT congregants who have suffered from legalized discrimination, such as denial of marriage or adoption rights, or dismissal from military service

    • Observance of Freedom to Marry Week (February); LGBT Pride Month (June, with specific attention to June 28, the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots); National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11); and Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20)

  • Speaks of the divine as both masculine and feminine, or in non-gendered language