Take action: Bill C-16 stalled in the Senate

Trans* people are ministers and leaders in the United Church, across the country, and around the world. They are members of our families, our loved ones, our friends, colleagues, and neighbours, and they deserve to have their identities protected by the law.canadian-trans-flag

Bill C-16 would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression. It will also amend the Canadian Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as a recognized group when offences are motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate.

Bill C-16 passed its third reading in the House of Commons in November 2016, and is now (still)  in its second reading in the Senate. Some groups are actively campaigning the Senate to block this bill. Please take action by contacting your senator as soon as possible, and urge the Senate to make Bill C-16 law.

Celebration for Ashbourne (Garneau United Assisted Living Place), Edmonton, AB

Ashbourne (Garneau United Assisted Living Place) of Edmonton, AB, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on May 24, 2017 from 2:00-4:00PM. They will become the first assisted living facility in the country to become Affirming!  All welcome to the celebration. Please join them at:

Ashbourne
11148 – 84 Avenue NW,
Edmonton, AB  T6G 0V8
theashbourne.ca

Please RSVP to (780)-430-5805 – or by adding a message with a note of congratulations below.

Please send a note of congratulations to Ashbourne by Continue reading

Welcome: coordinator for Living Apology project

Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble is pleased to announce that it has hired Aaron Miechkota as the new coordinator for *IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project*. AUSE thanks the United Church for its funding of this position and looks forward to collaborating on this important work towards a Living Apology to gender- and sexually-diverse communities.

Living Apology coordinator Aaron Miechkota.

Living Apology coordinator Aaron Miechkota.

Aaron is currently studying toward ordained ministry and brings a background in creative communications to her role. Aaron is interested in the theology of friendship with people and the Earth.

*IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project* seeks to inspire and reconcile people of diverse sexual, romantic and gender expressions and identities within the United Church of Canada. Continue reading

Celebration for Rosedale UC, Toronto ON

Rosedale United Church in Toronto, ON will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday June 11 at 10:30 am.  All welcome to the celebration! Please join them at:
Rosedale United Church,
159 Roxborough Drive, Toronto ON
M4W 1X7
(416) 924-0725
www.rosedaleunited.org/

Please send a note of congratulations to Rosedale United Church by Continue reading

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.

Deer Park United (Calgary) celebrates ten good Affirming years

By Bryon Delarue

It was Sunday April 15, 2007 that Deer Park United Church in Calgary celebrated becoming an Affirming Ministry within the United Church of Canada. And it was also my birthday. On Sunday April 23, 2017 Deer Park celebrated 10 years of being an Affirming Ministry.

The UDeer Park UC Calgary-ten year anniversary celebration-April 2017nitarian Church of Calgary lent us their rainbow banner as a backdrop for our celebration. The 500 foot banner was created as a project of a group of youth from the Unitarian Church of Calgary. In June 2005 Parliament Hill was awash in the colours of all 500 foot of the banner as it was paraded during rallies supporting legalization and to inspire a positive vote for same-sex marriage which became a federal law on July 20, 2005. What we displayed in the Sanctuary was 125 feet of the original banner. Continue reading

Becoming Affirming across generations: Outdoor ministries

Camp Kidston in Nova Scotia voted last year to begin the Affirming process, the better to offer a public and intentional welcome to children and youth, and to the young and older adults who staff the camp. This is an exciting first that sparked new work for AU/SE.

A task group shared between Affirm United and the United Church’s General Council has begun meeting. It’s sharing stories about vision, policies, and practices, and looking at how best to adapt the Affirming process for the unique needs of outdoor ministries/camps.

Morning games at Cave Springs United Church camp, ON- one of the outdoor ministries involved in the Affirming task group.

Morning games at Cave Springs United Church camp, ON- one of the outdoor ministries involved in the Affirming task group.

The group includes conversations with Ontario’s Rainbow Camp and the University of British Columbia’s CampOUT. Like Camp Tapawingo’s Camp Caterpillar, they are hosted by United Church facilities, but the programs themselves are not United Church, and are created and run by outside groups. One of the task group’s questions, then: what would it take to have explicitly LGBTQQIA-welcoming United Church programs in our own outdoor ministries?

Have a look at CampOUT’s summer 2015 video of its program Camp Fircom for a vision of what could be. And see this excellent reflection from Rachel Hearn on Rainbow Camp on why these spaces make such a difference.

If you know of a United Church outdoor ministry that is interested in offering a welcome to LGBTQQIA campers, please get in touch with one of our excellent volunteer Affirming ministry coordinators.

Alberta’s Affirming journey: A look back and forward

showing-off-mill-woods-affirming-style

Mill Woods United Church in Edmonton, showing off its Affirming welcome.

Many thanks to Bryon Delarue for bringing together this excellent overview of some of the 24-plus Affirming ministries in Alberta. Exactly ten years ago, there were three Affirming ministries in Alberta. Now there are twenty- four, with many more to come. Many of the more recent ones are in small towns. It is also home to the first assisted living facility in the country to become Affirming. This did not happen by accident or alone. Have a look at the details of this story- and be inspired to work on a similar commitment in your own context.

 

In the fall of 2003 Deer Park Council held two congregational gatherings with the purpose of listening to a collective voice on the core identity and passions of the congregation. An outcome was to live our mission for the next three years by focussing on youth; men; community with each other; people of other faiths; people in need and people of gay or lesbian orientation. Continue reading

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.

spirit-pride-logo-2017v2

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.