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Unitarian Universal Church Services - anyone familiar?

First off.. I am struggling with how I can attend church as Jillian, and grow as a person who is more whole.My current church is very traditional and I feel I am falling into my old habits of being the 'guy' everyone knows and relates to.

Today, I stopped into our local Unitarian Universal church and gathered up literature. I wanted some info on the church and specifics on Sunday service because I plan to attend tomorrow's am service.

They widely accept those who identify as LGBT and are very open. Tuesday night is a panel discussion for Transgender issues.

I'm excited to attend tomorrow as I am looking for a place to worship more openly as a trans-person.

Anyone have thoughts, experiences, or insights to this organization?

For reference - Their website is: http://rochesterunitarian.org/

Thanks

Jillian.

Views: 121

Comment by Alice Marie Russell on March 24, 2012 at 8:06pm

Hi Jillian,  I have been to two Unitarian churches and had good experiences at both. There were a bit different than the run of the mill church but for me that is a good quality as I have had less than desireable results in other churches.  If you know where you stand with God your faith will carry you through--i think you will have a good experience there---I will say a prayer for you that all will be well.   Alice

Comment by HELEN BRADY on March 25, 2012 at 10:17am

Also if there is one where you live, the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) are also open. The one here has a lesbian, a transperson and a gay person on their board.

Comment by Jillian Munsell on March 25, 2012 at 5:22pm

Thanks Alice, and Helen for your comments. I did indeed attend today and just like Alice, I had a very good experience.
I decided last night to send an email to the minister who was providing the sermon today and let her know I was planning to come today. In my note to her, I mentioned I was transgendered. She wrote back within an hour to say she was excited I was coming and would look for me. She herself is gay, and married to a lovely woman, and they have 2 children.

I met her just before the service and then took my seat. Another woman sat by me and then a third, who was seated ahead of us, turned around as asked if she could sit with us. She was such an interesting person, and I loved getting to know her. She is a self-professed old hippie and she mentioned when she first came to the church less than a year ago, she was hooked and has enjoyed coming every week since.
After service, we talked some more and she invited me to join her (and several other ladies) for their standing lunch date.

This has been a long time hope of mine to sit and enjoy a lunch with a group of women, as Jillian, so just couldnt say no.

We all met about an hour later at a coffee house and talked for almost 2 hours over soup and salad.I didn't know any of these ladies at all, but they welcomed me warmly to the group. At the end, they all hoped I would be able to join them again - anytime! I could be delusional, but I don't think they thought of me as Trans..

I returned home as it was time to un-Jillian myself, but did so feeling such a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

I hope I can attend more often. I can - but it would mean making a stand at home, and I need to think that over much more.

Comment by Tina Marie Thompson on March 25, 2012 at 7:16pm

I've had nothing but the best of times at mine. The congregation is loving and very caring for all that enter their doors.

Comment by Robyn Ann Jane Alice McCutcheon on March 25, 2012 at 10:13pm

In 1990, the first time I abortively tried to come out openly, the UU church on Powder Mill Rd. in suburban MD was about the only place I felt welcome.  I, too, would like to explore being part of a UU community today, but does anyone know of a good community to be associated with from a distance?  Is it even possible and worthile?  My home state now is Maine, about 45 minutes north of Bangor, but I'm living overseas 99% of the time.  Although Romania, ironically, is the home of Unitarianism, it is the Unitarianism of centuries past that has little in common with the UU tradition in the US.

Comment by Michelia Figo on March 27, 2012 at 11:28pm

Jillian, I have been a Unitarian Universalist most of my life. While all UU churches are different, I have yet to attend one anywhere where your TG status would be a major issue. Some churches are more conservative than others. And some members of any particular church could have issues with you...especially surrounding bathroom use and little things like that. Nothing that cannot be sorted out.

The great thing about this diversity is that members are free to steer their church in whatever direction is right for them. They have no one telling them this is "right or wrong". They question dogma and imposed beliefs. They seek the truth for themselves. However, the UUA principles are very clearly aligned with the idea that we are all equal and worthy and carry our own dignity.

I attended church as a guy for most of my life. I came out to my congregation a couple of years ago. I also made a presentation to the congregation on transgender issues. Since then we have had three more TG individuals become members! We are a congregation of 50 and we have 5 tg members! And the amazing thing is a lot of our membership is older and set in their ways. But Unitarians are amazing people as a whole and many have learned quite a bit about us after knowing nothing. 

So by all means, if you can become a part of your church do so... become a member! I have grown and been challenged spiritually and intellectually by my church. People there are not only good people but usually smart, accepting, talented, and loving. And you can make real friends! Many churches have "circle suppers" and different ways to connect with one another besides the time spent together at Sunday service.  

I would add my family attends services with me. I have a son and he comes with me. He has never had anyone, including the other children, be nothing but supportive. Also, I attend church in dual modes. I am the only one like this. The other TGs are full time. Sometimes I am in male mode and sometimes I am in girl mode. And people do their best to adapt and treat me accordingly. UU's are the best! 

Comment by Jillian Munsell on March 28, 2012 at 7:39pm

Thanks again to each of you.

I have become surprising interested in the beliefs and means of the UUC. In just a few days, I have experienced an acceptance, I had only ever dreamed about. Last night I attended a lecture which included 2 trans people, one M2F, one F2M and each spoke of their experiences to an audience of about 30. 

Thats about 3x bigger than I expected to see in attendance. One question in particular struck a cord with me. A member asked if the 2 presenters felt comfortable being at this church and if not, what could they do differently or better? What an awesome question!. The member wanted to know if what they thought was an open and welcoming environment, actually was.

I am certainly drawn to this place and the people that make it what it is.

Jillian.

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