The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originallyÂ published inÂ Vol. 3, No 3 & 4 Spring/Summer 1991.Â
Written as a guide for the Unitarian UniversalistÂ Association of Churches, this sourcebook shouldÂ change its title to The Welcoming Community: Resources
for Affirming Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Lifestyles. TheÂ book brings together in a sensitive, factual prose theÂ realities of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual lifestyles. It
gives to Christian and non-Christian gay, lesbian, andÂ bisexual individuals a useful resource tool in combating “Biblical Fundamentalism” which continues toÂ plague the culture.
The Welcoming Congregation makes a commitment to “celebrate the lives of all people and their waysÂ of expressing their love for each other” and seeks to,Â within its scope, create a guideline for a spiritualÂ environment which will be “inclusive and expressiveÂ of the concerns of gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons atÂ every level of congregational life.”
Each congregation begins this process by exploringÂ their own feelings toward their gay, lesbian, and bisexual brothers and sisters in a questionnaire. AfterÂ reviewing the questionnaire results, facilitators directsÂ the congregation through a series of awareness workshops which deal with the many facets of the gay,Â lesbian, or bisexual lifestyle. From homophobia toÂ AIDS fear, the workshops present to the community aÂ chance to see what it means to be gay, lesbian, orÂ bisexual in a predominantly heterosexual world. ItÂ presents several touching “coming-out” stories whichÂ could be useful to youth struggling with their ownÂ sexual identity. It culminates with the concept thatÂ gay, lesbian, and bisexual people need heterosexualÂ allies who are supportive and that congregations thatÂ choose to be “welcoming” can make a difference.
This book should be a ready reference source forÂ general information on the gay, lesbian, or bisexualÂ experience. It should be obtained for theology collections as a required reference for pastoral training within all Christian denominations. It would be useful for any organization seeking to become a “welcoming community.”
Reviewed by Charles Whitlow
AT&T Tax Libraries
Morristown, New Jersey