SpiritPride 2017- program updates

Our big event, SpiritPride 2017 and the Affirm United Annual Conference, is just 3 weeks away, July 28 – 30, 2017! We’ll gather in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the Musqueam, the Squamish, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nations, as part of Pride Vancouver’s celebrations.

Some of you have already registered and we are looking forward to seeing you there! AUSE especially encourages Affirming ministries and those in the process to come and share your experiences, questions, and hopes.

For those still considering attending, here’s latest news about the event; we remind you that there’s a week left to register online at the early bird rate at www.spiritpride.org (last minute registrations will be accepted, as well as at the door). On the SpiritPride website there’s also a contact for billets, should accommodation be a barrier for you or your family or friends.

Read on for exciting program updates!  Note that AUSE’s annual meeting will be held Friday afternoon– a break from our usual timing.

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AUSE welcomes Colombian partner to 2017 annual conference

SpiritPride and Affirm United /S’affirmer Ensemble will welcome Colombian global partner Paola Márquez to their gathering July 28-30 in Vancouver. Partnerships with global LGBTQ+ communities and allies is a crucial part of our journey towards dignity, equity, and rights. Paola

Paola is coordinator of volunteers for the Colombian Methodist Church in Medellín, Colombia. This work has given her opportunities to work with organized groups of visitors from North America who assist in projects in Colombia. She is also a law student at the Atlantic University in Barranquilla on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Her mother, who she also works alongside, is a Methodist pastor in the same city. Paola has worked since she was 14, and since the age of 17, has been her family’s main income-earner. In the local church, she has begun a small ministry for LGBTQ people.

Affirming Awards 2017: your nominations needed!

Every year, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble invites your nominations for outstanding individuals and Affirming ministries whose work and witness have inspired our movement. Awards are presented at our annual conference, which will be held July 28-30 2017 in Vancouver. The deadline for nominations is June 10 2017. The decision will be made by a committee of the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble national Council.

Altar banner, George St United, Peterborough ON.

Altar banner, George St United, Peterborough ON.

Please use the form below to nominate people, or contact the co-chairs if you wish to send a nomination by mail. The form allows you to attach Word and PDF documents as well as photos. Links to relevant videos should be included in the form text or the Word document.

The Person of the Year Award honours  an individual who has made a significant contribution to the work of Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble by their volunteer commitment in any part of the movement; and/ or by furthering the welcome and inclusion of LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people in the United Church of Canada, faith communities, and Canada as a whole.

The Affirming Ministry Award recognizes outstanding examples of ministries who inspire and lead our movement with the creativity and energy of their ministry to diverse communities and the church.

Thank you for your help in naming and honouring those who inspire us.

Affirming award nominations 2017- Ministries and people

  • Tell us why and how this ministry or person has inspired you and others. Please be specific, and take as much space as you need. You can also attach a Word document, PDFs, photos and more below. These will help our committee make its decision, and will help us share the story of this person or ministry.

Spirit Pride/ annual conference 2017 promo material

Friends, please help Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and St Andrew2017 Spirit Pride and AUSE annual conference poster-photo‘s-Wesley United Church promote our July 28-30 shared conference in Vancouver! Below are a poster and business cards we ask you to share and print; feel free to save the JPG of the poster and use it widely on social media and in your newsletters.

Join the Facebook event and check out the full program and accommodation info at http://spiritpride.org/ 

2017 Spirit Pride and AUSE annual conference poster (PDF)

2017 Spirit Pride business card (PDF)

Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at Spirit Pride 2017! 

Registration open! AUSE Annual Conference/ Spirit Pride 2017, Vancouver

This year Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble is partnering with St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver, joining our annual conference and AGM to SpiritPride, to make both into one amazing national event! Join us July 28-30 in downtown Vancouver. Registration is now open. And we have a 2017 Spirit Pride and AUSE annual conference poster and a new 2017 Spirit Pride business card for your promotions pleasure. We hope a diverse community of all identities will join us on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh unceded traditional territories.

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The mission of SpiritPride is to provide a safe, positive, LGBTQ+ affirming space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore issues of faith, spirituality and sexuality. Our theme will be Hope Rising: Celebrating our Spirituality. See more information about the program here. Spirit Pride precedes and is one expression of Vancouver Pride, which takes place over the August long weekend. Plan to stay on!

Traditional institutions of “religion” have not historically been safe places for LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit communities. There has been judgement, rejection, harm, and misunderstanding. However, members of LGBTQ+ communities have always maintained a sense of their faith, and explored and grown in our spiritual lives. Many faith groups and churches have become welcoming, LGBTQ+ affirming places of faith that support their LGBTQ+ members.

Our host, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, is an inclusive and Affirming Christian community located in the heart of downtown Vancouver BC., attracting people who have an open mind and an open heart and are willing to join with others in the exploration of faith, a desire to live with integrity and compassion, and a hope to be part of a meaningful community.

Please join us for worship, conversation, celebration, and learning!

As always, people and communities of all identities are most welcome. AUSE will work with St Andrew’s Wesley to find affordable accommodation, and we thanks congregation members and friends who are opening their homes to us . AUSE will also strive to find financial support for all who need it.

 

 

Announcing dates and location for the 2017 annual conference

Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble is delighted to announce that our 2017 annual conference will be shared in partnership with St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church and its wonderful Spirit Pride conference. The conference will be held July 28-30 in Vancouver, on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh unceded traditional territories. Spirit Pride precedes Vancouver Pride, which takes place over the August long weekend.

More information will follow as planning gets underway. For now: save the date!

Moderator’s sermon: annual conference 2016

This sermon was offered by United Church of Canada Moderator Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell at the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble annual conference closing worship, 24 July 2016, Glebe-St James Unitclosing-worship-baby-and-moded Church, Ottawa/ unceded Algonquin territory.

The Moderator does not work from a printed text when she speaks. These are her expanded notes, and we thank her for sharing these with us at AU/SE’s request. (Photo: Ella listening, or not, to the sermon.)

 

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

In Christ, God has reconciled humanity to God.

This suggests that our relationship with God must have been broken. How? Continue reading

Quotes and food for thought: 2016 AU/SE annual conference

Food for thought: quotes from the annual conference

Many words of challenge, wisdom, and Good News were shared at the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble 2016 annual conference. Many more could be added. If you encountered some thoughts, prayers, or words that moved you, send them to communications(at)ause(dot)ca and we’ll include them in a future newsletter.

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“You need to know that your work saves lives. Faith and the LGBT communities have been divorced for far too long. It’s time to end this separation.” — Jeremy Dias,
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity

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Annual conference 2016: heartfelt thank yous

Annual conference 2016: over 100 attendees; global partners; theatre, worship, song, words of challenge and affirmation

Our 2016 annual conference in Ottawa is now complete! We welcomed over 100 attendees and global partners; we shared in theatre, worship, song, workshops, and words of challenge and affirmation.

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Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble offers profound gratitude to the Ottawa annual conference planning team. From the details of homemade muffins to the big picture of an integrated and thoughtful theme on trans* identities and rights, you offered us a safe, questioning, sacred space. Your hard work and generous spirits created a “kairos” moment for our movement, and we are deeply grateful for your months and months of labour and planning. Continue reading

AU/SE July 2016 Annual Conference

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Our 2016 annual conference in Ottawa is now complete! We welcomed over 100 attendees and global partners; we shared in theatre, worship, song, workshops, and words of challenge and affirmation.

Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble offers profound gratitude to the Ottawa annual conference planning team. From the details of homemade muffins to the big picture of an integrated and thoughtful theme on trans* identities and rights, you offered us a safe, questioning, sacred space. Your hard work and generous spirits created a “kairos” moment for our movement, and we are deeply grateful for your months and months of labour and planning.

The same is true for the many facilitators, theme speakers, ceremonial leaders, worship leaders, singers, and actors who brought us words of life and welcomed us to Algonquin traditional territory. Thank you for renewing our spirits and challenging us to expand our knowledge and worldview.

And we thank all of the participants, especially those new to the movement. Thank you for taking the risk of moving into a new space to be with us, and for challenging us to be more widely and deeply welcoming.

Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble also thanks the global partners of the United Church of Canada for joining us to discuss LGBTQ rights and theology. Representatives joined us from the Middle East Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the World Student Christian Federation, the Methodist Church in Argentina, and the only Metropolitan Community Church in Cuba.

Have a look at our conference photo album on Facebook. And please circle the dates for 2017: July 28-30. Watch our website for the location, and sign up for our newsletter so you can get your own invitation to the conference.