The Story of a Banner

New welcome banner

Maybe you’ve noticed that a new banner graces the front of our church, a lovely and colorful vertical beauty that says “All Are Welcome”. 

And indeed, all are welcome in this special space, UU Santa Monica, where we believe in the dignity of all beings, where love is the spirit of the church, and the quest for truth is our sacrament. 

The tale begins when Barbara Gibbs remarked to Karl Lisovsky that she really missed the banner that used to stand next to the front of our church on Sundays, next to the Greeters’ table, where visitors and members would come and say hello. The banner was moved to the chancel, where it still stands, but the Greeters’ table was left without one. 

So, in true UU spirit, a committee was formed — or rather, it developed on its own, as interested parties weighed in on the matter. We discussed the look of the banner, what artwork might be in it, what language must be present. 

Oh, the copy we considered! “Church is where we learn what it means to be human” was a contender, recalling the days of Rev. Judith Meyer, where that adage was always present in her opening remarks. Later, we considered “Love is the Doctrine of this Church”, but we decided that the word ‘doctrine’ might not be consistent with the zeitgeist of today, possibly to be replaced by ‘spirit’ anyhow. We thought about “Come, come, whoever you are,” echoing the text on the existing banner, but decided a change was in order.

Barbara Gibbs and the new banner

So many good ideas, but each one seemed to be not quite right. 

Then, someone commented: Why not just return to “Welcome”, pure and simple? Hard to argue with that, so that became the plan. But then Gretchen suggested “All Are Welcome”, as a way to be just a bit more UU, a bit more explicit in our openness. 

Which is what you now see, when you walk up to our church on Sunday morning: Gretchen’s artwork, and the process that culminated in exactly what this church is all about: ALL ARE WELCOME.