Visitors to the website will see a rainbow chalice in the listing for the (UUSG), recognizing the church’s recent certification as a welcoming congregation to those in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community.
According to Bruce Fackler, a gay man who joined UUSG in 2007, the certification simply makes official what he experienced when he was introduced to the church five years ago. Fackler said he had moved here from Minnesota and was searching for a congregation that could be a supportive family.
“I found more than I was looking for,” he said.
Fackler said he was raised in a church where, if anyone had known he was a gay man, he would not be welcome, but he feels UUSG is a place where he can be who he is without shame or fear.
“I found acceptance, respect and love,” he said. “It’s like coming home.”
UUSG began the certification process in 1995. Although the congregation voted to affirm it, the final documentation was not completed and turned in to the association until last year.
Lynn and Llona Steele moved to Geneva from Texas in 2010. They had assisted their church in Lubbock through the welcoming certification process in 1999, and took UUSG though the final steps. The Steeles have a daughter who is in a same-sex relationship, so they know how difficult it can be for LGBTQ persons to find a church that embraces them.
“UUSG is a spiritual safe place,” Lynn Steele said. “People who come here find a place to pursue their own spirituality without their sexual orientation or identity being an issue in the way.”
The church has made an ongoing commitment to provide programs to keep people informed about issues that affect LGBTQ individuals. Lynn Steele said there is more emphasis now on bisexuality and transgender issues, and UUSG recently held two seminars covering both topics.
The church service on Sunday, March 18, will concentrate on LGBTQ issues, and UUSG will show two documentaries on Friday, March 16 as part of its Friday Flicks monthly film series.
UUSG members involved in the certification process also are pursuing the formation of an Interweave group, a social network of gay people and others sympathetic to their issues.
“It’s human nature for us to fear what we don’t know,” Fackler said. “We want to help people understand LGBTQ issues, and encourage love and respect.”
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, established in 1842 and the oldest church in Geneva, is a diverse, welcoming community that endeavors to make its Covenant a living reality. We provide religious education and opportunities for spiritual growth. We encourage individual and mutual responsibility, as together we work to be a liberal religious voice in the community and a force for compassionate social justice.
For more information on this church, visit uusg.org.