Full Inclusion: A Congregational Self-Assessment, part 3

Administration / Operations

On its web site, in membership directories and marketing materials, in worship program, on bulletin boards and in all other communications, the inclusive congregation:

  • Includes a statement of welcome that specifically acknowledges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as members of its community, and specifically invites LGBT persons and families to membership

  • Includes photographs of LGBT individuals, same-sex couples and LGBT families among other congregants’ photos in congregational directories, etc.

  • Displays other signs of welcoming (e.g., a rainbow flag)

  • Promotes LGBT-related activities and events within the congregation and in the local community to the entire congregation (not just to the LGBT members)

  • Uses language that speaks of “all genders” (not just male and female) and “diverse sexualities” (not just straight and gay)

  • Uses “family” language that does not presume:

    • that family always means “mother and father” or two parents;

    • that all families include children (considering that not all couples want children, can bear children, or are allowed to adopt)

    • that committed partners are “married” (considering that not all committed couples choose to marry, and same-sex couples do not have equal marriage or even domestic partnership rights in most states) 

    • that all members are biologically related (considering that many congregants create “families of choice”)

In its policies and bylaws, the inclusive congregation:

  • Includes statements of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in hiring, promotion and use of facilities

  • Goes beyond nondiscrimination to promote the full inclusion of LGBT persons in all areas of its operations, particularly in visible positions of leadership. The inclusive congregation seeks out qualified LGBT persons to serve as clergy and staff (as permitted by its faith tradition); on councils and governing boards, standing committees and special committees; as teachers, musicians, youth leaders and lay ministers; etc.

  • Makes its nondiscrimination and full-inclusion policies explicit when conducting searches for clergy and other key staff positions

  • Provides the same benefits (health insurance, bereavement leave, maternity/paternity leave, family leave to care for a sick partner) to LGBT and non-LGBT employees

  • Sponsors a programming committee, support group and/or social event committee specifically devoted to LGBT congregants and their interests

  • Makes its facilities available for use by LGBT congregational groups as well as LGBT community groups, such as PFLAG, GLSEN and COLAGE

  • Provides at least one gender-neutral or “unisex” restroom(s)

  • Provides sensitivity training in pastoral care to LGBT congregants for clergy, lay leaders and other staff, as appropriate