Stories

Liturgical Elements:

Assembled by Elizabeth Strong in the 1990s OPENING WORDS 1)     Friends, we are gathered here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the coming together of two separate lives.  We have come to join these two, to be with them and rejoice with them in the making of this important commitment.  The essence of this commitment is the taking of another ...
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LEADER: Because our love for one another is often not recognized, because our commitments are not yet legal, ALL: We witness your commitment to one another. We validate your love, and support you in your lives together. We testify that today you have bravely formed an authentic bond, worthy of respect. LEADER: Because our families often reject us, ALL: We accept you as a ...
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Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley October 3, 2004 © The Rev. Judy Welles Invitation to Worship Christopher Lemelin, Worship Associate Three years, three months, three weeks, and three days ago, I became real.  When I calculated that time period, I knew exactly what I would say this morning—the magic in those numbers was unavoidable. Three years, three months, three weeks, and three days ...
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Milestones:

I was a surprising, and surprised participant in some important moments in the LGBTQ history of the UUA. I say surprising because I had a heterosexual upbringing and identity that did not prepare me to meet gay and lesbian people in the larger world of Unitarian Universalism beyond my home church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As I emerged into leadership in Liberal Religious Youth, and ...
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From the report of Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz UUA President, to the 1987 General Assembly: We Unitarian Universalists have been the religious leaders in [the area of gay and lesbian rights]:  in our establishment of a denominational office; in our support of ministers who perform services of holy union. But at the moment our values and principles are being sorely tested: not just ...
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Thank you for inviting me to speak before you today. I am the Rev. Jane Dwinell, and I serve the First Universalist Parish, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, in Derby Line, VT.  My congregation serves Unitarian Universalists from all over Orleans County as well as part of the Eastern Townships of Quebec.  I am also a member of the Board of Trustees of the NH/VT ...
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Singing for Our Lives The First Out Lesbian and Gay Unitarian Universalist Ministers[1] Celeste DeRoche ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS I set out to interview the first LGBT[2] Unitarian Universalist ministers and the non-LGBT people who helped them achieve these settlements.  The first filter I used was to search for those clergy who were out through their first search and settlement. I interviewed lesbian and gay ...
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Issued at Convocation in Birmingham, Alabama March 10, 2002 During Convo, with the leadership of Alabama Unitarian Universalist ministers, we issued a statement of concern about recent homophobic comments by Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama.  Kendyl Gibbons, acting in her role as UUMA President, invited those assembled at Convocation to endorse the following statement, initially formulated by the Rev ...
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Personal Reflections:

December 6, 2010 (Interview presumably conducted by Lee Paczulla)  Q: Was the issue of homosexuality already being talked about within the congregation when you were called to serve as minister? If not, how did it come up? A: When I first came to the church, it didn’t come up in the search process – but after I appeared, a member who had been absent ...
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I was a surprising, and surprised participant in some important moments in the LGBTQ history of the UUA. I say surprising because I had a heterosexual upbringing and identity that did not prepare me to meet gay and lesbian people in the larger world of Unitarian Universalism beyond my home church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As I emerged into leadership in Liberal Religious Youth, and ...
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A Homily Delivered by Doddie Stone Mount Diablo Church, Walnut Creek, CA June 26, 1988 (Note:  This was Doddie's "coming out" sermon to the congregation where she was a member.) a coming out story would be a chronicle of all the days of all my lives it seems there is either nothing to tell, or far too much how can i possibly capture any ...
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I became a Unitarian Universalist in 1963, a few years before Stonewall, but my contribution to the Rainbow History Project is about my life not in UU settings but in academic ones. My story begins in the late 1950’s when I was an undergraduate at Indiana University and Vice President of the campus YWCA.  We called our staff advisor “Appy,” a sign of our ...
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This is the story of a congregation coming to new understandings and new actions regarding lesbians, gay males, bisexuals, and transgendered persons. It began when two college students asked to give a Sermon on “The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.” An ugly episode at a UU congregation involving two fine ministers who happened to be lesbians encouraged direct action on our part—General ...
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It was the Fall of 1992, and I had just arrived in Portland, Oregon, to take my position as the new Senior Minister of First Unitarian Church.  At the time, Ballot Measure 9 was raging in the state — it would have denied civil rights to gays and lesbians. Measure 9 would have added the following text to the Oregon Constitution: All governments in Oregon ...
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Weddings and Unions:

Prior to the legalization of marriage During the 1990s while I served May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society in Syracuse, I did many services of Holy Union for gay and lesbian couples. Most of the lesbian services were small, often the couple and two friends, and had deeply painful histories that brought them to me for their wedding. There were far too many women who ...
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Be it known that on October 28, 2000 Rose ________ and Harriet ________ were joined in Holy Union by the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth M. Strong at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society in Syracuse, New York. Let it be known that on this day ________________ in the year _____________________ Rose ________ and Harriet ________ dissolved their Holy Union by divorce. The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth M ...
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Assembled by Elizabeth Strong in the 1990s OPENING WORDS 1)     Friends, we are gathered here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the coming together of two separate lives.  We have come to join these two, to be with them and rejoice with them in the making of this important commitment.  The essence of this commitment is the taking of another ...
Read More
LEADER: Because our love for one another is often not recognized, because our commitments are not yet legal, ALL: We witness your commitment to one another. We validate your love, and support you in your lives together. We testify that today you have bravely formed an authentic bond, worthy of respect. LEADER: Because our families often reject us, ALL: We accept you as a ...
Read More
Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley October 3, 2004 © The Rev. Judy Welles Invitation to Worship Christopher Lemelin, Worship Associate Three years, three months, three weeks, and three days ago, I became real.  When I calculated that time period, I knew exactly what I would say this morning—the magic in those numbers was unavoidable. Three years, three months, three weeks, and three days ...
Read More
From Pat Sullivan, about the advocacy work of her spouse the Rev. Kay Greenleaf. The Advocate, March 17 2004 Two ministers in Kingston, N.Y., were charged with criminal offenses on Monday for marrying 13 gay couples in what is believed to be the first time in the United States that clergy members have been prosecuted for performing same-sex ceremonies. District Attorney Donald Williams said ...
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Miscellaneous:

Richard S. Gilbert – Rochester, NY – April 13, 1975 READING: CALL TO THE LIVING This is a call to the living, To those who refuse to make peace with evil, With the suffering and waste of the world. This is a call to the human, Not the perfect, To those who know their own prejudices, Who have no intention Of becoming prisoners of ...
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The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Lillian Faderman. New York: Simon and Shuster, 2015. 816 pp. $11.99 (Kindle). $27.63 (cloth). $20.00 (paper). My grandfather Umberto loved opera. And he taught me to love opera. “This is YOUR music,” he would tell me after taking me to see Madame Butterfly. “Love it.” And so, over my teen years I found that, unlike any ...
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This is how it happened, from my perspective, and my most likely imperfect memory. I was the Executive Vice President of the University Student Council in for 1966/67, when I was a senior at the School of General Studies. One day the President, David Langsam, said to me, "I've got a good one for you. You probably don't know this, but you are on ...
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Submitted by Rev.  Richard A.  Kellaway, minister at Fourth Universalist Church from 1968 to 1973.  (At that time, the church was called The Universalist Church of New York City.)  The interview was presumably conducted by Lee Paczulla when she was a student at Harvard Divinity School.  Edmund Pease was a member of the church.  Q:  Was there any public conversation on homosexuality at Fourth ...
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Although UUs had been officially engaged in working for gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights since the 1970 General Assembly resolution to end discrimination against “homosexuals and bisexuals,” it wasn’t until 1985 that the grassroots movement of queer UUs became a national/continental presence. That February 50-100[1] LGB UUs (others not yet acknowledged) and a few allies gathered in Houston at one of the few UU ...
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In 1974, after the worship service in our Quad Cities (Iowa) UU congregation, a member approached me with a challenge: “Tom, thus far you’ve tackled every social justice issue except mine. I’m a gay man, and I invite you to become our ally. Let’s come out of our respective closets here in this mid-western parish!” And we both did. I preached a sermon on ...
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What follows are some of my GLBTQ+ experiences between my birth in 1935 and today, when I am 83 years of age. I grew up in a UU minister family that was not homophobic, which is not to say that GLBTQ+ persons were looked on exactly like heterosexual persons. They were “different,” “exotic,” “interesting,” “artistic.” In the context of the church those who were ...
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Issued at Convocation in Birmingham, Alabama March 10, 2002 During Convo, with the leadership of Alabama Unitarian Universalist ministers, we issued a statement of concern about recent homophobic comments by Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama.  Kendyl Gibbons, acting in her role as UUMA President, invited those assembled at Convocation to endorse the following statement, initially formulated by the Rev ...
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A sermon delivered by Rev.  Josh Pawelek, Unitarian Universalist Society, East Manchester, CT on November 2, 2003 When I initially planned to preach on my decision to stop signing marriage licenses, I certainly didn’t imagine this would be the week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would hand down its decision in Goodridge vs.  Department of Public Health on whether or not the state’s ban on issuing ...
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