The Welcoming Congregation program (UUA Welcoming Congregation Program) was created for Unitarian Universalist congregations. It is a completely volunteer program for Unitarian Universalist congregations that want to take intentional steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).

On May 29, 2013 Otter  Dreaming, as the representative of NEIUUF,received the following email in response to our application to the UUA to be recognized as an official Welcoming Congregation. The fellowship members had approved of the application at our annual meeting in April. The application/report follows the letter.

Dear Otter, and the rest of the NEIUUF family,


The Northeast Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s application to become recognized as a Welcoming Congregation has been approved! I’m thrilled to be able to congratulate you on taking this powerful step, doing collective work to educate yourselves on LGBTQ issues, and committing yourselves to vital ongoing ministry in this area.

It was a pleasure to be able to read about what you accomplished and what your plans are for ongoing work. I was particularly impressed by your creativity and diversity of topic in terms of the services/discussions you offered—the topics you offered sounded wonderfully appropriate for your community and context. It was great to see that one of them was focused on the Gay Straight Alliance of Decorah High School—what a powerful inclusion. I was also happy to see that you are offering Our Whole Lives for many ages—it’s such a powerful resource.

It’s clear that NEIUUF understands that becoming recognized as a Welcoming Congregation is a commitment rather than an end point, which is fantastic. Your plans for ongoing work sound wonderful—I was particularly delighted to see that you are planning to reschedule the workshop on the topic of the intersection of race/ethnicity with sexuality and gender. And it’s fantastic that you’ve participated in other local churches’ processes to become Open & Affirming and that you are planning to continue building on those partnerships. I hope you’ll also continue deepening the relationships and contacts you’ve built with community groups like the GSA, PFLAG, the Decorah Area Faith Coalition, and more—maintaining and deepening those relationships is such a profound way to continue your wonderful community outreach.

I also hope you’ll continue to see LGBTQ Ministries as a resource for you—please feel free to be in touch any time if you have any questions or if I and my colleagues can be of service or support, and I hope you’ll visit our website often; we are always adding new resources (www.uua.org/lgbtq). You can expect to receive two Welcoming Congregation posters in the mail shortly, and NEIUUF will be recognized on the UUA’s website within the next few days. Thanks again for your congregation’s life-giving, essential work!

Warm regards,


Welcoming Congregation Report (PDF)

If you have questions please contact Otter Dreaming (otterdreaming@gmail.com) or any member of the committee:

Sue Peterson (sue7271@gmail.com)
Lynda Sutherland (lyndajoy70@gmail.com)
Ginger Meyette (gmeyette@hotmail.com)
Aaron Budihas (budiaa01@luther.edu)
Celia Garner-Prouty(garnce01@luther.edu)
Shirley Vermace(svermace@gmail.com)

Visit Welcome in Decorah for information on LGBT friendly places and wedding planning in Decorah.