Minister’s Message – Welcoming, Hospitality, and Belonging in the New Year

On to the second decade of our now not so new century. We’ve got much to look forward to at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church. In March (mark your calendars now for March 13th at 4pm), we’ll be officially celebrating the addition and rejuvenation of our building. As we’ve been getting ready, we’ve been fortunate to welcome many new folks into our midst. We are greeting families of all ages and compositions, young and old. We are meeting many new children and welcoming them into our religious exploration program and community at large.

We’ve constructed a new sign that waves a welcoming flag to help make us more visible from the street and to make it clear to people who might frequently feel marginalized that we are a Welcoming Congregation. Similar to our recent work to become a Green Sanctuary, back in 2003, our congregation studied a curriculum to become officially welcoming. We often take that recognition for granted, when so many of us feel safe and accepted wherever we go. The recent news of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a bold reminder that this world is not always friendly to individuals of varying sexual and gender orientations. Our hospitality is one of our greatest assets. The UUA website says it well:

We believe that our first Principle, respecting “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” applies equally to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities/ gender expressions. Unitarian Universalism has intentionally reached out to BGLT people and their families. Our Welcoming Congregations have completed a program to enhance their welcome of all people. Unitarian Universalism is one of the few religions that ordains openly bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people. Our BGLT clergy (who are permitted to partner or marry) participate fully in our faith community as pastors in some of our largest congregations.

I feel so fortunate to belong to a faith that has been a leader in standing on the side of love, and in offering a spiritual and religious home for all. As we begin this new decade, let me express a true welcome to all of you, whether you have been crossing the threshold here for many years or just a week. Your complete and authentic self is a gift you bring to this congregation.

Let us welcome in the new year with gratitude for this place, and for all who step inside our door.

In faith, Katie