Our faith is about so much more than our buildings. Yet our buildings and camps are also important spiritual and physical spaces that house not only our own ministries, but many other vital community initiatives too. Many Affirming ministries own their own building or facility, and in the course of their Affirming journey they generally add more inclusive spaces, such as all-gender washrooms, space for smudges and other Indigenous ceremony, wheelchair ramps, technology for the deaf and hard of hearing, and more. It’s an ongoing process that never really stops.
Most also rent the space to other groups. What, then, does an Affirming use of the building for everyone look like? What happens if a group opposed to LGBTQIA+ rights and identities wants to rent the space? What does safer space look like? Here’s one example of a policy and commitment from Trinity United Church, a rural congregation in Cannington ON.Download their building rental policy PDF here.
Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble is a grassroots network that relies on many partnerships in its core work of advocating for and supporting safer sacred spaces. Our family tree includes communities of many different paths and traditions; our roots are mostly United Church. We welcome the solidarity and support shown by the United Church’s General Council office as together we’ve widened the range of resources that support the discernment, practice, and prayer in which any Affirming journey is grounded. Read on for some new and renewed resources. Thank you for your gifts to the Mission and Service fund, which made these resources possible.
Relaunch! Celebrating Gender Diversity Toolkit This excellent and widely used resource has been completely updated and is (still) completely free. It’s essential, even life-saving, that our sacred spaces celebrate the gifts trans, non-binary, genderqueer, and Two Spirit people bring to our faith and community life. This comprehensive toolkit gives you many, many practical avenues for change in your ministry. Please download your copy, whether you’re Affirming, on the journey, or not there yet. There is always something positive we can do. Looking for yet more resources? See the entire range of options. The Affirming Journey:Mandate magazine This special issue, from Spring 2018, focuses on LGBTQI+ and Two-Spirit justice. Inside you’ll find articles on why the United Church’s Affirming journey has only just begun; intersectionality; chronicling the impact of 1988; a timeline of LGBTIQ2S+ justice in the United Church; a glossary of key terms and concepts; as well as worship resources, a Bible study, workshops, youth programing, and more—all moving toward affirming, healing, and renewal for all.
United Church Resource Distribution (UCRD) has graciously provided us with a complimentary special digitalized issue of Mandate’s “The Affirming Journey” from Spring 2018. To request your copy, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. An email will be sent to you with a link to where you can view and/or download this special issue.
Video: Two Spirit powwow and the Healing Fund, plus many other videos In the spring of 2018, Indigenous and community groups in Saskatoon held a Two Spirit powwow. One of the first of its kind, and possibly the first in Canada, it was deeply important circle of spirit and prayer. The United Church was honoured to support this work through the Healing Fund. Mission and Service offers us this 3 minute video on the powwow and its importance. Please share during worship and/ or community times in your ministry, adding this resource to AUSE’s 2019 PIE Day video and to many videos from Affirming ministries.
PIE Day 2020 and Pride Sunday 2020 On March 14 Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble will once again offer resources to help you have fun with pie and with PIE: how to offer a Public, Intentional, and Explicit welcome to people with diverse genders and sexualities. Watch www.pieday.ca The United Church will be part of promoting this second annual day of serious fun, serious dessert, and serious discernment and commitment. And on Sunday June 7 the church is invited to again celebrate Pride Sunday. Mark your 2020 calendars!
During this last year, efforts of national and regional facilitators have been on reaching out and building intentional relationships with individuals, small groups, or communities of faith, who the project has not yet connected with during the previous two years.
Specifically, they are focusing on reaching people who:
— are LGBTQIA+ people who are racialized, Indigenous, Two-Spirt, and/or disabled—often marginalized within the LGBTQIA+ community in the United Church and wider society;
— and, who want to engage on the issue but have not yet done so. We are looking for people willing to share their stories about conflict, growth, learning, and transformation. We’re looking for people who may have been on ‘the other side’ of the issue, have never talked about what happened in 1988, but during the last 30+ years have shifted into a place of openness and willingness to start talking about their experience, learnings and growth, and what it means to be affirming of LGBTQIA+ and Two-Spirit people.
I am writing to ask you to share with me the names and email addresses of individuals, small groups, or communities of faith who may fit into one of the above focus groups.
You can send their names and contact information to me, and I will in turn share this information with the appropriate Iridesce facilitator – OR – You can forward this email on to individuals you think might be interested in participating so they can reach out to facilitators if interested in participating.
We recognize that the work of relationship building takes time and long-term commitment, and is something that we need to continue to address and live into, as we move into the future. We are, in many ways, just beginning.
Thank you for taking a few moments to consider who you might refer to the Iridesce project to help inform its final report and recommendations to the church. The learnings from the project will help the church to discern how it might continue to resource the LGBTQIA+ and Two-Spirit community in the church, and if, and how, the church might live into a possible apology to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and Two-Spirit people.
–Jordan Sullivan, Ministry Partnership Animator/Agent de Liaison et Animateur, Partenariats Ministériels [Includes: Outdoor Ministries (camps)-Campus Ministries-Community Ministries; LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit Justice (Canada); Poverty in Canada; Program Assistant for Gender Justice]Church in Mission/L’Église en Mission, The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Email: jsullivan(at)united(hyphen)church(dot)ca
416-231-5931 x 4151; 1-800-268-3781 x 4151
We had a great time at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary July 26-28! 75 adults and about ten kids registered, and we had more people join us for Harlan Pruden’s intro to Two Spirit identities, worship, and the Caretakers theatrical reading. Deep thanks to the beautiful hospitality of the Hillhurst community. You made the gathering gracious, very open, very worshipful, very insightful and thought provoking, and very creative. Thank you.
And, we have the whole thing on video! Thanks to the amazing tech team at Hillhurst, the whole conference was livestreamed and archived. All of the generous presenters and leaders agreed that the videos can be shared free of charge. Please take the time over the fall to review some of the videos that you think would speak to you or your community, and set up a video night. From GSAs to social media pro tips; Two Spirit identities to LGBTQIA refugees; from worship to biblical engagement and self-care, it’s all here. Please enjoy. Check out: https://www.hillhurstunited.com/live-video
All welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Ralph Connor Memorial United Church on Sunday October 27, 2019 at 10:00AM. Location:
Ralph Connor Memorial United Church
617 Main Street
Canmore AB T1W 2B1