The last Sunday of January has been designated annually as Welcoming Church Sunday, a day on which congregations—across denominations--celebrate and reaffirm their support for the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the church.
Various denominational LGBT advocacy groups organize their own welcoming church program. In order to be considered a “welcoming church”, a congregation creates a public statement of welcome that is inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. These welcoming church programs are denominationally specific, so the designation will be slightly different for each denomination (Reconciling in Christ for Lutherans, Open and Affirming for the United Church of Christ, Reconciling Congregation for Methodists, etc.). Even though each denomination has its own welcoming church designation, these programs coordinate on projects, like designating the last Sunday in January as Welcoming Church Sunday.
Ideas for celebrating Welcoming Church Sunday can be found on the Reconciling Ministries website as well as on the website of Lutherans Concerned North America. GLAAD encourages all congregations to review their welcome statement, educate themselves on the practice of welcome, and recommit to being a welcoming space LGBT people of faith.
GLAAD thanks all places of worship that have made a public declaration of their welcome of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. A listing of welcoming congregations can be found on the Institute for Welcoming Resources web site. If you are delivering a sermon that calls for a more inclusive world or if you attend a service that commemorates the full participation of all sexual orientation and gender identities, please share you r story with us either below or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLAAD calls on the number of welcoming congregations to continue to grow until all people seeking a spiritual home will be able to find one that accepts them.