Dear ,

The 2017 PRIDE season is in full swing as queer people and allies alike are flying our fearless rainbow flags proclaiming, “We’re Queer! We’re here! Get used to it!”

While mainstream culture by and large may be showing signs of getting “used to it,” the current political landscape is proving many will never get used to it, as we remember the lives lost last year in Orlando, witness the rise of faith-based hate in state legislatures, mourn the sharp rise in the number of murders of trans women of color, and the growing decry of gay torture in Chechnya.

As such, UUA Multicultural Growth and Witness is launching UPLIFT! It's purpose is “Uplifting LGBTQ+ experience within and beyond Unitarian Universalism.” UPLIFT will provide a platform for the UUA to highlight LGBTQ+ issues and concerns by featuring related programming, reflections, and content via our quarterly email newsletter, UPLIFT blog, and @uua_lgbtq twitter account.

As we persevere in resistance amid a reckless Trump Administration, prepare our hearts for General Assembly in New Orleans, and celebrate LGBTQ PRIDE throughout the month of June, I pray this premier issue of UPLIFT will uplift your spirit.

In this issue, you’ll find:

  • A spiritual reflection from our UUA's Interim Co-President, Rev. Sofia Betancourt
  • Articles related to remembering Pulse/Orlando, gay persecution in Chechnya, and the murder of trans women of color
  • A report and reflection on the annual TRUUsT retreat, the largest-ever gathering of transgender Unitarian Universalists religious professionals
  • LGBTQ+ Youth Survival Guide
  • LGBTQ gatherings at GA 
  • Welcoming Congregations - newly approved and newly renewed in 2017 

May your heart, mind and spirit be uplifted as you reflect upon the joys and concerns of LGBTQ+++ people in and beyond Unitarian Universalism.

Be well,

Rev. Michael J. Crumpler
LGBTQ and Intercultural Programs Manager
Multicultural Growth and Witness

"If you don’t believe that your enemy can be redeemed you will become what you hate.” - Rev. Dr. William Barber, II
Praise the Lorde!

Rev. Sofia Betancourt is the Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics at Starr King School for the Ministry and will serve as Interim Co-President for the Commission for Institutional Change.

Praise the Lorde! That is never a typo for me, nor a bad pun meant to be tongue in cheek. On the altar in my office at Starr King School for the Ministry rests one of those tall multi-day votive candles with a photo of Audre Lorde on the front. It proclaims, “Praise the Lorde!”
The friends who gave me that candle said it reminded them of how I speak of my love for our students, for the co-creators and co-learners that grace my classroom. I was honored. I have turned frequently to the words and witness of Audre Lorde in these days and weeks when it has been my privilege to serve as one of three Interim Co-Presidents of our Unitarian Universalist Association. So often we engage her teaching: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” We remind ourselves of those words in times of struggle when we seek trust in that inner knowing born of our living; when we long for new pathways on the journey toward justice. Read more.
Remembering Pulse: We Go On! 

Cody Blattner is an Youth Representative for the Unitarian Universalist Organization at the United Nations.

I woke to some of the worst news I’d ever received. The Pulse Nightclub tragedy was plastered all over social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. News articles were everywhere and I clicked them all, slowly piecing the story together. 

My friends, queer or not, uploaded pictures of rainbow flags and candles and flowers to express their condolences and support. Read more.
GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders

From GLAAD's blog: "As necessary, GLAAD reaches out to media outlets to correct incidents of irresponsible reporting where misgendering and victim-blaming occur. We also work with local communities and advocates, connecting them to journalists to confirm information about the victims. If you see a news story which misgenders a transgender victim and/or publishes details about their personal life irrelevant to their murder, contact us at" Learn more
UUA Condemns Anti-Gay Purge in Chechnya

June 19, 2017

As our nation and government continue to be rocked by the continuing revelations of the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia, the global LGBTQ community is equally alarmed by the horrific reports that gay men are being persecuted by Chechen police. Read the entire statement.
"Gay Purge" In Chechnya 

A reflection from Hanna Skinner, an Youth Representative for the Unitarian Universalist Organization at the United Nations.

Recently, Russian officials have begun to look into claims being made that there is a “purge of gay men” in Chechnya. There have been multiple reports claiming that gay men in the region being held in detention centers and even being tortured. These abuses are all part of a campaign against gay men in Chechnya.

Read more.
A protest outside the Russian embassy in London, in April, following the human rights allegations about Chechnya. Photograph: Thomas Hornall/PA
A protest outside the Russian embassy in London, in April, following the human rights allegations about Chechnya. Photograph: Thomas Hornall/PA
Largest-Ever Gathering of Trans Unitarian Universalist Leaders: 2017 TRUUsT Retreat

Alex Kapitan, TRUUsT Steering Committee

Last month saw the largest-ever gathering of transgender Unitarian Universalist religious professionals. Twenty-seven trans and non-binary UU leaders and two allied UUA staff gathered in Palm Harbor, Florida, for the second membership retreat of TRUUsT, Transgender Religious professional UUs Together.

For three days, attendees built community, worshiped together, and engaged in organizing to support the many varied ministries of trans people within Unitarian Universalism. Read more.
Image courtesy TRUUsT
Learning to TRUUsT

Rev. Anya Drew Johnston is on the Steering Committee of TRUUsT and has been serving in transitional ministries since 1999. Anya is currently interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, Ohio.

It’s not hard to find places to feel unwelcome. I knew that even when I didn’t know all the reasons that I was different from how the world expected me to be. Once I accepted that I’m transgender I had an explanation for many of the unwelcoming experiences I’d had in life.
It’s been said that naming a problem is half the solution. In the case of naming my gender it has often felt that the problem got much larger once I named it. The places I could feel welcome became increasingly scarce.

Although I came out as trans with a plan in place, I had underestimated the losses that accompanied the truth of my identity. Being genuine seemed to make me less welcome than I’d ever been before. I won’t say that TRUUsT saved me; that seems over dramatic. I will say that attending the first TRUUsT retreat brought me a feeling of welcome that had been missing for many years. Read more.

For LGBTQ Youth 

Jennica Davis-Hockett, UUA Youth Ministry Associate

Let’s face it, it’s nothing new that the rights and wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ community are being compromised by policy makers. But for LGBTQ+ folks coming of age right now, witnessing a win like marriage equality then getting whiplashed by Trump and Pence’s election and scary pledges might be a first time experience. It’s a blessing that it’s also nothing new that queer and genderqueer folks who’ve come before have wisdom for us on self care, building support networks, preparing for changes, and long term activism.

Read LGBTQ+ Youth Survival Guide: Trump Edition by Rev. Evin Carvill-Ziemer.
General Assembly 2017
Recognized Welcoming Congregations
CONGRATULATIONS to the 10 newly approved/renewed and Welcoming Congregations for the first half of 2017

For more information the Welcoming Congregations program please visit our website or contact

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Plattsburgh, Plattsburg, NY
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Blue Ridge, Sperryville, VA
Unitarian Universalist Church of Weymouth, Weymouth, MA
Kearsarge Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, New London, NH
Midcoast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Damariscotta, ME
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Hill Country, Kerrville, TX
Clayton Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church, Newberry, SC
The Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship, Fairhope, AL
First Unitarian Church of Memphis (Church of the River), Memphis, TN
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern, New Ber, NC


Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
Welcoming Congregation Profile: Midcoast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Welcome Without Limits

The Midcoast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (MUUF) is a small congregation in rural coastal Maine. Founded in 1982 and initially lay-led, MUUF now has a half-time minister and 49 members. MUUF has always been the spiritual home to people with a passionate commitment to social justice. Over the years MUUF members have put their faith in action on a variety of issues, including antiwar, antiracism, and antisexism efforts, protection of the environment, and LGBTQ rights.

In 2012 several MUUF members took a leadership role locally in the statewide campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. Many MUUF members—gay and straight—joined the effort and made phone calls, knocked on doors, wrote letters to the editor, and participated in monthly public demonstrations in support of marriage equality.

Building on the success of the marriage campaign, MUUF’s dormant Social Justice Committee was reactivated early in 2015, and among its first priorities was to initiate the process of becoming officially recognized as a Welcoming Congregation.
Read more.
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Wilmington, DE 19801
United States

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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States