A Welcoming Congregation

The Welcoming Congregation Committee and program at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula were formed in the early spring of 2001. The program is dedicated to creating, fostering, and maintaining awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) issues as they relate to our Church’s members and potential members. On June 10, 2001, the congregation voted unanimously to become a Welcoming Congregation. We at UUCSP have for years performed Union ceremonies and incorporated LGBT people in all aspects of church life.

Mary A. Livermore Society

Established in the late 19th Century, the Mary A. Livermore Society has held meetings for over 100 years and is the longest standing women’s society in Ventura County. The members meet on a monthly basis to listen to the stories of their fellow members. The “Mary A’s” continue to support causes that include end-of-life issues, reproductive rights, and other women’s issues in the spirit of Mary A. Livermore who worked for women’s education as well as abolition and temperance.

Covenant of Right Relations

LISTENING AND SPEAKING

We promise to listen compassionately and speak with care.

Listen from the heart. Use “I” statements when expressing opinions or feelings. In conversation, refrain from blame and judgment. Listen more to understand than to reply. Leave space for others to speak / let your voice be heard (or as our Youth say), “Step Up / Step Back”. Respect different points of view.

WORKING WITH CONFLICT

We promise to address conflicts directly, using openness and compassion.

Assume others have good intentions. Talk to the person directly. Stay engaged with each other through difficult conversations. Be curious about the other side of an issue. Agree to disagree and do so with openness and gentleness. Respect decisions made by the group.

SERVING OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY

We promise to serve our church community with generosity and good humor.

Attend worship and other church events. Say “yes” to service that nurtures you. Honor our commitments. Respect the right to say “no”. Encourage people to make choices that balance their needs with others’ needs. Use humor when appropriate.

HOSPITALITY AND WELCOMING

We promise to practice hospitality and acceptance, welcoming all who enter and encouraging diversity in our congregation.

Greet people warmly. Engage those who are different from us. Welcome newcomers into conversations. At Coffee Hour be intentionally inclusive. Treat others with respect and loving kindness.

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION

We promise to acknowledge our shortcomings and be willing to forgive those of others.

Acknowledge our own and others’ imperfections. Forgive ourselves and others. Lovingly call each other to account for behavior that is hurtful to others. Treat each other with openness, honesty and fairness.

APPRECIATION AND ENGAGEMENT

We promise to acknowledge the service of others and support each other in times of joy and need.

Honor all levels of service and financial support to the church. Help each other in time of crisis. Recognize each other’s talents. Appreciate the efforts of others. Give positive feedback, comments and thoughts. Stay open to other points of view. Challenge ourselves and each other to grow.