A church which has been welcoming to the LGBT community since before most would even mention the words. RobinMetcalfe has asserted that this was "the first non-queer institution to give shelter and support to queer organizations" in Halifax.1

Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to affirm and promote a number of principles, among which are: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. Following these principles, UU churches have led the way in promoting acceptance of GLBT people, including providing Services of Union long before same-sex marriage became legal (and being part of the fight to legalize those marriages).

The Halifax church became an officially Welcoming Congregation in 2005, but has long been a friend to our community as a safe space to hold events, taking part in the Pride Parade, holding Services of Union, etc.

We have lay chaplains who perform rites of passage (child dedications, memorial services,weddings, funerals) for people who wish to design such services as they see fit. We'll work with you on creating a fabulous wedding ceremony! Call 429-5500 and ask for more information.


By DouglasFevens

picRev. James Stoll The relationship between the LGBT community and UU Halifax probably began in the late 1960s and was formalized in the early 1970s. In 1969, the Colorado minister Rev. James Stoll came out publicly, the first minister of any American religious denomination, and probably in the world, to do so.

In the 1960s, the central UU organization developed a curriculum called About Your Sexuality which dealt with many, at the time, extremely controversial topics including homosexual desire, sex, and marriage. Under the guidance of Rev. Fred Gillis, the Halifax church did not lag behind, and the workshop was presented to a couple of dozen members here in September, 1971.2 On October 7, 1971 the magazine The 4th Estate published an article by Judy Wouk in about the content of the workshop, and how it affected her.

A few members of the congregation had helped establish the Metro Area Family Planning Association, (1970) and Rev. Gillis was an early vice-president. In 1973 a youth worker with the Association was delivering sexuality courses to interested youth groups using the Universalist Unitarian kit. This would have been an early incarnation of our present day YouthProject that has served countless LGBTQ youth over the years. In September, 1973, the church published an article about the kit's impacts.

With lessons the congregation, and indeed the wider community, learned from using the About Your Sexuality kit, it was probably not a controversial decision for the Vestry to approve the use of the church by the Gay Alliance for Equality on October 24, 1972.3

It's noted in the 1973 Annual General Meeting minutes that 1973 the group ''was'' using the main room once a week.

The timeline for the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalist Association's relationship with the LGBT community can be found here.4

Important Dates

October 24, 1972
Board of directors motion that GaeGala can use the space for "lectures, discussions, etcetra, by a gay social group. That the group be permitted to use the building without payment Wednesday nights. Carried 5/2. Rev Fred Gillis will discuss this in his sermon next Sunday."5
March, 1973
Meetings there are noted in the very first GaeGala Newsletter: Vol 1, #1
1979 (ca)
Sparrow Meetings start here
July 26, 1996
Pancake Brunch presented by Interweave, the LGBT group ChronicleHerald ad here
SafeHarbourChurch worships there
2003 on
CourageRoundup LGBT AA/NA/Al-Anon conferences
November 2008 WayvesMagazine has an article about the new minister, Reverend Julie Denny-Hughes.


4. Unitarian Universalist LGBT History Timeline, on the website uua.org
5. Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax MG4 Volume 346 #3. Thanks to Doug Fevens of the UU Church for the research.