Affirming celebration for Trinity UC, Cannington ON, 23 June 2019

A celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry will be held for Trinity United Church, Cannington ON, on Sunday June 23, 2019 at 11:00 AM at: Trinity United Church, 50 Laidlaw Street North,
Cannington, ON  L0E 1E0
Phone:  705-432-2721

All welcome! Please send a note of congratulations to Trinity United Church through this private form:

Annual conference 2019- theme and other details!

Annual conference 2019, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble:
DISRUPTIVE FAITH: Forging Brave & Inclusive Communities in Divided Times
July 26 at 4:00PM, all day and evening Saturday July 27, to Sunday 28 after lunch, at Hillhurst United Church, Calgary

Registration is now open! Click here

Join us for the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble Annual Conference 2019, in partnership with Hillhurst United Church and Affirming Connections.  Our time together will include theme speakers, worship, lots of conversation, children’s programming, meals, and AUSE’s annual meeting- so that you too can have your say in this growing movement.

Read on for registration, accommodation info, theme, children’s programming, and more. Look for updates right here May through July, and see our Facebook event here.

Join us for a weekend of inspiration, learning, challenge and community, envisioning, entertainment and imagining. Let’s explore a new narrative that reaches bravely across the gap, burning through the barriers to Love’s presence. Together let’s forge braver communities, and build bridges to God’s vision of a more beautiful world.

Stay tuned for more information on our program of events, keynotes, and workshops. We are excited to provide opportunities to learn about becoming an Affirming Community, and how to take your Affirming Community to the next step with workshops on expanding and amplifying your voice. We are working with regional ministries, theatre artists, and performers to bring you some exciting and relevant programs to challenge, titillate and transform! More details to come!

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Affirming celebration for Golden Ears United Church BC, 23 June 2019

A celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry will be held for Golden Ears United Church on Sunday June 23, 2019 at 3:00 PM at:

Golden Ears United Church,
22165 Dewdney Trunk Road
Maple Ridge  BC  V2X 3H7
Phone:  604-463-9611

All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to Golden Ears United Church through this private form:

Is an Affirming journey even needed? Four voices

From a thread on the United Church of Canada Facebook group, spring 2019. The post related to the United Methodist Church’s March 2019 decision to renew its ban on LGBTQIA+ clergy and equal marriage.

Part of the conversation turned to the Affirming process in the United Church: whether it should be a priority since the perception is that the whole church is “already welcoming”; whether it was accessible to congregations who struggle with a lack of volunteers; or whether it’s needed at all. Different opinions about how welcoming our United Church ministries really are were expressed, and debate offered up. Here are some stories from responders in that conversation, used with permission. Please note that they are speaking from their personal experiences, and not speaking on behalf of the ministries they serve.

Leigh Sinclair (Minister, Robertson-Wesley United Church, Edmonton AB): I have been in affirming congregations and welcoming congregations. There is a difference. How often do we preach love from the pulpit, how much do we discuss each marriage request and most importantly are we telling the community we live in what we believe on the outside of our building or in the safety of our hearts? The harm done by the Christian faith towards the LGTBQ communities can only be atoned for when love is shared as publically as it once proclaimed hate. Continue reading

Accommodation options, AUSE 2019 conference

Accommodation for Disruptive Faith, 2019 Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble Conference at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary includes billets, hotels, and a 15% off deal at the Residence Centre at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, a 20 minute walk from the church.

Billets: In your registration, you can indicate whether you need a billet. Calgary’s Affirming Connections network will do their best to find billets.

Hillhurst United Church is situated near many AirBnB’s in the Kensington Sunnyside area, and 1 train stop from downtown hotel accommodations.

The Residence & Conference Centre at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology: Hillhurst has negotiated a 15% discount on rooms here. Use this link:

At the top right of the page, enter the promotions code 217Affirm 
Please book by July 24!

Rooms include:
• Complimentary Parking
• Complimentary Breakfast
• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• Linens & Towels Provided
• Bathroom Amenities
• Yoga Room
• Exercise Rooms
• Conference & Meeting Space Rentals Available



AUSE Council member Rev Cindy Bourgeois receives award, 8 May 2019

On May 8 2019, AUSE Council member Rev Cindy Bourgeois received the Craig Chaplin Memorial Award from United Theological College (Montreal). Congratulations, Cindy! We celebrate with you and celebrate the many gifts  you bring to our shared movement. Here’s the citation, offered by Alyson Huntly, a longtime leader in our Affirming movement. 

“Craig Chaplin created this award to recognize the ministry, gifts, and witness of those who are openly LGBTQ2, “To honour those whose life’s work has been distinguished by embodiment of such central gospel values as courage and integrity, life affirming faith, and unswerving commitment to justice and solidarity with those who are marginalized. “

I met Cindy Bourgeois in 2009, during her internship at First United Church, Ottawa. Members of the congregation remember Cindy well, recalling how open-hearted and generous Cindy was as she patiently helped the congregation stretch its understanding of trans women:

  • Her humour and persistence
    Her deep spirituality
  • Her dynamic preaching
  • Her special gift for ministering to those who felt marginalized
  • Her connection to children and youth; her connection to seniors
  • And most of all, how privileged people felt to know her!

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Affirming celebration for Silver Spire United Church, St Catharines ON, 9 June 2019

A celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry will be held for Silver Spire United Church on Sunday June 9, 2019 at 10:30 am  at:

Silver Spire United Church
366 St. Paul Street
St. Catharines ON L2R 3N2
Phone: 905-682-8328

All welcome to attend this celebration!
Please send a message of congratulations to the community of Silver Spire United Church as they celebrate this important step on the journey. Use this form:

Affirming celebration for Grace United Church, Sarnia ON, 2 June 2019

A celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry will be held for Grace United Church, Sarnia ON, on Sunday June 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM at:

Grace United Church,
990 Cathcart Blvd
Sarnia ON  N7S 2H2
Phone: 519-542-1203

All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to Grace United Church through this form:

Spruce Grove Gay Straight Alliance on the difference a church made

Affirming Connections in Calgary writes, “We want to cheer on that St. Andrew’s United Spruce Grove celebrated becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday, April 28!

We received a letter from Spruce Grove GSA Society about their affirming experience with St. Andrews, and it’s amazing – we wanted to share it with you.”

Additional context: St Andrew’s Affirming celebration took place days after Alberta decided on a new provincial government. Alberta’s United Conservative Party won the election, and it had campaigned in part on removing privacy protections that allowed schools to not inform parents when a student joined a GSA.

From Spruce Grove GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Society:
“In January 2018 the Spruce Grove GSA had its very first meeting. Unfortunately for our next meeting, in February, we suddenly found ourselves homeless. I had approximately three weeks to find somewhere to host our youth! I was heartbroken, devastated and crushed. What would I tell our kids, the parents, what would I tell Spruce Grove… our community GSA has suddenly come to a crushing halt.

A friend referred me to Connie Archer from St. Andrew’s United Church. I called her up and she agreed to meet with me at the church the next day.

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National ecumenical consultation of affirming ministries, April 2019

Jordan Sullivan, is the Ministry Partnership Animator for the United Church of Canada, and a bridge builder between Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and the wider United Church. He and AUSE co-chair Michiko Bown-Kai were involved with a recent ecumenical national consultation of Christian denominations about their work towards being truly LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit-welcoming.

He writes, “I am so very grateful for the courageous, faithful, and committed people involved in LGBTQIA2S+ Justice work among their respective faith communities across Canada.

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