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
“…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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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. Continue reading
Friends, please help Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and St Andrew‘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.
Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at Spirit Pride 2017!
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.
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.
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!
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 United 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
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.
“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