The Community of Welcoming Congregations CWC continues to lead the way in being a public pastoral presence that advocates for full LGBTQ equality. We have grown to 110 members and are in dialog with many more. Currently our program priorities focus on issues of gender and faith, transgender education and marriage equality. We invite you to join us!
Our Executive Director
The Rev. Tara Wilkins serves as Executive Director of the Community of Welcoming Congregations and is a member of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Tara has earned a solid reputation in the Pacific Northwest as an inspiring speaker, workshop leader and preacher and is often a guest lecturer at colleges and universities. Additionally, she leads workshops in Reclaiming the Feminine, Sexuality and Spirituality and the Welcoming Church Movement. Rev. Tara has a passion for working with youth and young adults. Her favorite hobby is being a grandmother.
History of The Community of Welcoming Congregations
CWC was formed in 1992 by a group of clergy women. Most of the participants served Open and Affirming (ONA) congregations. Through the years, CWC galvanized around ballot measures and sought to be a presence at Portland PRIDE, committed to the mission of being beacons of inclusive faith.
In 2003, CWC brought an Executive Director on board to lead the organization. There were 34 member congregations. In 2004, CWC led the way in marrying the more than 3000 same-sex couples and were an important part of the campaign against Measure 36. In the process, CWC became a statewide organization, exposing the need across the state to be in dialogue, educate, and build coalitions that advocate on LGBTQ issues.
In early 2005, CWC diligently focused on a business plan and structure. We elected a Board of Directors, incorporated as a non-profit organization, adopted bylaws and a logo and began the 501c3 process. We increased our volunteer staff, strengthening our data and marketing and sought funding to upgrade our computer network and website. During the 2005 Oregon State Legislative session, CWC took the lead in being a public voice for inclusive people of faith. We were successful in changing the tone in Salem, allowing more legislators to speak from their own faith perspectives. While no laws were changed, our opponents were unsuccessful in making arguments against our proposedlegislation on religious issues. In the 2007 legislative session, the Oregon Equality Act and the Family Fairness Act were both passed and signed into law. CWC organized the voices of people of faith throughout the state to advocate for nondiscrimination and domestic partnerships, tipping the scales toward inclusion.