Affirming ministries-a decade ago

Throwback Thursday/ Throwback Anyday: Affirming ministries a decade ago, and a lot of change since.

Huron Shores United Church, Grand Bend ON, at their Affirming celebration in September 2017– one of over 30 new ministries welcomed to the family in 2017.

At times it feels like the church is making slow progress at becoming truly LGBTQ+ welcoming. While AUSE is edging towards 200 Affirming ministries, it’s too easy to look at the United Church’s roughly 3,000 ministries and courts and focus only on how far we have to go. But, look at this Observer story from a decade ago for some context.

Writer Mike Milne noted, “only 31 United Church congregations (as well as three regional ministries, three retreat centres and two colleges) now officially call themselves Affirming. It’s a tiny portion of the United Church’s 3,500 congregations — less than one percent.” Continue reading

Celebration for Emmanuel United, Odessa ON

Emmanuel United Church, Odessa ON, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday November 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM at

Emmanuel United Church
63 Factory Street
Odessa ON K0H 2H0
http://www.odessapc.com/emmanuel-church.html

All welcome!  

Please send a note of congratulations to Emmanuel United Church by filling out this contact form: 

Volunteer of the Year Award 2017-Gary Simpson

Every year, AU/SE honours individuals who strengthen and bless our movement in especially significant ways. In 2017, we honour two Albertans: Gary Simpson and Bryon Delarue. Council member Jen Carter-Morgan writes,

“It is a great delight to be able to introduce a wonderful man who is one of the faces of the Edmonton Pride Community – Gary Simpson.

Gary Simpson decked out in his usual Affirming splendour at the Edmonton Pride parade, 2017.

Gary and I first crossed paths at the start up gatherings of a group called Soul Outing, which is a queer worship community in Edmonton that we were both involved in and he still is. He is a dedicated and colourful participant in the Pride Week activities, from walking/riding with the United Church groups to volunteering at the festival afterwards, to staffing an information table. Continue reading

AUSE Volunteer of the Year Award 2016-17- Bryon Delarue

Every year, AU/SE honours individuals who strengthen and bless our movement in especially significant ways. In 2017, we honour two Albertans: Bryon Delarue and Gary Simpson. Gary and Bryon’s work both appears on our website and social media; in 2017 Bryon offered a timeline of all the many and growing Affirming ministries in Alberta, and a reflection on how this was accomplished. Continue reading

Celebration for St James UC Peterborough

St James United Church, Peterborough ON, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM at

St. James United Church
221 Romaine Street
Peterborough, ON
K9J 2C3
All welcome!  

Please send a note of congratulations to St James United Church by filling out this contact form: 

Celebration for Manitou Conference

Manitou Conference, Ontario, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday November 5, 2017 at 7:00 PM at

St. Andrew’s United Church
399 Cassells Street
North Bay, ON
P1B 3Z4

The Moderator, Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell, will be preaching. All welcome!  

Please send a note of congratulations to Manitou Conference through this contact form: 

Celebration for Mount Royal United, QC

Mount Royal United Church in the Town of Mount Royal, QC will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 22, 2017 at 10:30 AM at:
Mount Royal United Church
1800 Graham Boulevard
Town of Mount Royal QC
H3R 1G9
www.mountroyalunited.ca

All welcome! 

Please send a note of congratulations to Mount Royal United Church by filling out this contact form: 

Celebration for Red Deer Lake United

Red Deer Lake United Church in Foothills, AB will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM at:

Red Deer Lake United Church
,
96187 Hwy 22X
Foothills, Alberta T1S 2R9

http://reddeerlakeuc.com/
All welcome! 

Please send a note of congratulations to Red Deer Lake United Church by filling out this contact form: 

Annual conference/ SpiritPride 2017 report

“…God is queer. Jesus is queer. The Gospel is queer…. May we step proudly into our place at the table of God and claim that space, saying boldly and proudly, “we shall not be moved”. -Brandan Robertson.

The Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble network is a far-flung family, extending coast to coast to coast, and including kin and allies in many countries. Every year we have a chance to gather face to face, and in 2017 we were hosted by St Andrew’s Wesley United in Vancouver as part of their annual SpiritPride event. Many thanks to the congregation and the planning team for their warm hospitality and months of hard work. Gregg Taylor and Chris Mann, thank you for your bridge-building between AUSE and St Andrew’s Wesley, and for bringing our two movements together!

Check out our Facebook photo album (you don’t need to be on Facebook to view it).

Colourful LGBTQIA+ flags draped over a stone balcony at St Andrew's Wesley UC, Vancouver.

A wonderful array of our movement’s flag in the sanctuary at St Andrew’s Wesley.

Continue reading

Iridesce: stories, questionnaire, resources, visits

Greetings from Aaron Miechkota, Coordinator of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project!

Here’s the latest news; for all of these updates, read more www.iridesce.ca

Downloadable Iridesce poster; see Resources at www.iridesce.ca

Downloadable Iridesce poster; see Resources at www.iridesce.ca

Stories of 1988. For some in the United Church the mention of this date is enough to silence a room, but for others it is the beginning of new conversations around acknowledgement and lament, apology and reconciliation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2) people.

Maureen (not her real name) remembers: “One of my longest standing friends, and her family, left a congregation and official board work because they could not stand the level of discourse from other board members and the minister at the time against the United Church decision… The tone that they heard coming from [church leadership] led them away from any sense of ‘Christian fellowship’ … the pain was real for the family and the reason for leaving was not discussed in the congregation even though the leadership was fully aware of the cause.” (Continue reading at https://www.iridesce.ca/news )

Bulletin insert for Iridesce

Bulletin insert for Iridesce

The Iridesce Questionnaire
How was it for you in the decades leading up to our 1988 decision, and through “The Issue Years” (1988-1998)? Maybe you were a member or a church or ordered ministry, and needed to remain in the closet, were outed, or were persecuted. We need to hear these stories. For more thought-provoking questions to help you participate in this Project visit www.iridesce.ca/questions

Where is Iridesce going next?
This season Iridesce plans to visit churches and communities of faith in the Maritimes (in October) and in British Columbia and the Yukon (in November). We welcome invitations to visit your community for early 2018. Please reach out to our coordinator to start a conversation about how a visit could help your community participate in this important project of our church, at livingapology(at)gmail(dot)com

Resources for your community
Download worship services, prayers and many resources for your community (bulletin insert, poster, and letter for your minister or community). Visit www.iridesce.ca/resources or email our coordinator at livingapology(at)gmail(dot)com